Walmart, a $214 bln retail giant, has begun to utilize the Blockchain technology to identify and remove recalled foods from its products list.
IBM and Walmart have been collaborating since October, when Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM, stated:
“Food touches all of us, everywhere, so we are experimenting in China with Walmart and Tsinghua given the size and scale of food consumption in this country.”
Currently, Walmart depends on an IT infrastructure, which requires the company days to search its database and discover the origin of a product.
When a customer submits an official complaint letter in regards to a certain product or becomes ill from Walmart’s food, the Walmart IT department is alerted. Upon the submission of the complaint letter, various databases and servers are analyzed to find the origin, vendor, time of shipment, amongst other crucial details that may be pertinent to the situation.
With a Blockchain-based system in place however, executives at Walmart state that both the consumers and the corporation will be able to access its ledger in real time to verify and identify any information about that product. More importantly, since the Blockchain technology is decentralized, it protects the Walmart Blockchain network from being targeted by hackers or dealing with data alterations.
Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart stated:
“With Blockchain, you can do strategic removals, and let consumers and companies have confidence. We believe that enhanced traceability is good for other aspects of the food systems. We hope you could capture other important attributes that would inform decisions around food flows, and even get more efficient at it.”
Partnership with IBM
While Walmart still hasn’t fully disclosed the technical aspects of its Blockchain network, Yiannas stated that Walmart is using IBM’s Blockchain-based systems and networks to develop its own unique platform. Since late 2016, IBM began to offer enterprise-grade Blockchain services to corporations.
Bloomberg notes that if Walmart decides to adopt IBM’s Blockchain network and deploy it commercially on a large scale, it will most likely become the largest Blockchain implementation to date.
It could be utilized to track the shipment, origin and status of all food products exported and imported by Walmart.