National food recalls could be a thing of the past

Some of the largest food producers and retailers in the world are joining together to use blockchain technology to detect pathogen outbreaks in food before they spread.

Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart are teaming up with IBM Blockchain to identify vulnerabilities in the food supply chain in order to prevent the effects of tainted food before they occur.

Organizations like IBM Blockchain and the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) are laying the groundwork for the implementation of this technology, which will allow for greatly improved food safety monitoring and product traceability.  

The timing for this new technology could not be more appropriate as media scrutiny of vulnerabilities in the US food system has intensified. From peanut butter to hamburger patties to fresh produce, the US food chain has experienced several high profile recalls just this year alone. Comprehensive, national recalls are expensive and can be catastrophic for companies’ reputations.

However, heightened public awareness isn’t the only reason for more frequent instances of food contamination. The global food production system is more complex, with products coming from around the world than ever before.

Through an openly and freely distributed database, blockchain technology provides transparency in records of product movement and ownership that constantly reconciled and verified. And unlike the food chain, there is no single point of failure as the information is spread openly between every member of the blockchain and is not controlled by any single company or entity.

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