IBM, Kroger, Walmart and others team up to improve food safety with blockchains

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IBM today announced that it is working with a consortium that includes Dole, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart to bring the benefit of blockchains to the food supply chain.

IBM, just like most of its competitors in the public cloud computing space, has been working on various blockchain projects in the last few months.

Given the complexity of the food supply chain from producer to consumer, blockchains could actually find a pretty interesting niche here because they would allow for more transparency and traceability (especially when things go wrong). The idea behind this project and the collaboration between these different companies is to figure out where exactly blockchains can benefit the food ecosystem.

“Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system — equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviors,” writes Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s VP for food safety, in today’s announcement. “It also allows all participants to share information rapidly and with confidence across a strong trusted network.”

Unsurprisingly, IBM’s Blockchain Platform will form the basis for much of this work. It supports the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer technologies for building blockchain-based applications.

It’s interesting to see how a number of the large players are now working to bring blockchains to the enterprise. Earlier this month, for example, Microsoft launched a new project to make blockchains ready for the enterprise, too, for example. Earlier this year, an IBM study also found that a third of enterprises are now looking into how this technology can benefit their business.

CorrectionWe previously included Costco as part of this consortium. The company was mentioned in an early press release but not in the final version. We regret this error and have commenced self-flagellation.