Albertsons Companies has signed onto IBM’s blockchain initiative that aims to establish a clear line of traceability in the food chain.
The IBM Food Trust provides every party along the supply chain with a clear and complete history of any individual food item.
The Food Trust uses blockchain technology to digitalise the financial and logistical data that is amassed from a foods origin source to consumption.
Albertsons Companies operates over 2,000 stores across North America. They plan to pilot IBM’s blockchain technology by tracing bulk romaine lettuce as it leave s one of their distribution centres.
Jerry Noland, VP of Food Safety & Quality Assurance, Albertsons Companies commented that: “Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner.”
“Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain.”
On the IBM Blockchain
Contain within the information on the blockchain is all the relevant temperature and test data. As products move across borders they gather an array of certifications and accompanying logistical data, all of which will be visible to everyone with access to the chain.
Bridget van Kralingen SVP of IBM Global Industries and Blockchain commented in a released statement that: “The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared.”
“That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”
Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric
The blockchain technology been utilised in the Food Trust is not reliant on cryptocurrency as the system is built on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric which is the first blockchain system that runs distributed applications written in standard, general-purpose programming languages, (e.g., Go, Java, Node.js), without a systemic dependency on a native cryptocurrency.
Participants entering into the IBM Food Trust can select from three software-as-a-service modules that have a pricing structure that is scaled to suit their size.
The traceability module means the food supply chains can be transparently followed at all stages, helping to reduce food waste and enable suppliers to manage demand, as well as mitigate cross-contamination of products.
The certifications module helps verify the provenance of digitized certificates, such as organic or fair trade. While the last module allows users to securely upload and manage their data on the blockchain.