China IBM and Walmart use blockchain technology to track pork
The retailer Walmart has joined forced with academics and technology experts from IBM and Tsinghua University to digitally trace China’s most popular meat – pork – from sty to store.
Using blockchain technology, Walmart will be able to digitally store permanent records of transactions that trace food products from farms through the supply chain and a way to identify the consumer who purchased the product. This could prove to be a game-changer for food safety in China, as digital information such as farm origin, abattoir and processing record and shipping details are digitally connected to the food product, with the information grouped together in the blockchain.
This permanent, digital record of full traceabil ity could serve as a step-change alternative to traditional paper tracking systems, which leave supply chains vulnerable to mistakes and fraud.
Plans to pilot the project were announced on 19 October when Walmart opened its Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Centre in Beijing, with a view to dramatically improving the way food is tracked, transported and sold across China.
IBM said its scientists were at the cutting edge of blockchain technology and suggested this could present an innovative new way to improve food authentication and supply chain traceability.
Tsinghua University brings to the table both expertise and young talent in the fields of transaction security and authent icat ion technology. Chai Yueting, professor at Tsinghua University, who is leading efforts by the university in the project with Walmart and IBM said it could serve as a model to others.
The technology used by the three parties is based on technology developed by Hyperledger Project, an open-source software project by the Linux Foundation, which is set to enhance blockchain systems.