Walmart is planning to sell leafy greens that would be traceable through blockchain technology by 2019 end, reports Coindesk. The company in a press release dated 24th September 2018, addressed the suppliers for leafy green products asking them to deploy the blockchain-based tracing system being developed by the company in collaboration with IBM. The development of the tracking system is scheduled to be completed by September 2019, according to the press release.
Walmart, in a letter sent to all its suppliers, said that every company associated with Walmart is now required to work along with the Food Trust network of IBM (NASDAQ:IBM) to build end-to-end tracking in two phases. Walmart will be in a better position to track food items quite quickly with the help of the blockchain platform, which hitherto was unassailable for the company.
The development is in line with the company’s effort to curb any potential of the epidemic, E.Coli, which was recently reported in Arizona. As a precautionary measure, the center of Disease Control has advised consumers to restrain from consuming food grown anywhere near Yuma, which is said to be the source of the E.Coli outbreak. For any customer, it is near to impossible to track the actual production place or cultivation place of the food products he consumes, said Frank Yiannas, the vice president of Walmart. Supporting his comment, he further noted that packing of salad does not carry a label of their origin like whether they are from Arizona or Yuma. The blockchain technology will make it easier for a customer to scan the location of the origin or the place the product was grown, added Yiannas.
The blockchain technology for tracking the green products would work in two phases. In the first phase, the direct suppliers will have to create a one-step backtracking system by the January end. In the second phase, companies with suppliers that are their own will be required to integrate the tracking system in their system by the September end, 2019.
Walmart in its letter to the suppliers said that the company is closely working with the tech giant IBM to bring in a cost-effective and user-friendly platform for tracing the origin of the product. Through the letter, the company intended to comfort the suppliers relaxing them on any additional expenditure that they might be required to bear for incorporating the technology.
It is not for the first time when Walmart emphasized on bringing in the latest technology in the food supply. The company has reportedly introduced the blockchain technology in its supply chain. In the past, there have been incidents of the poor quality of pork being supplied in the Asian country of China. Walmart, in its effort to curb the issue, introduced blockchain to track the origin of pig products to ensure consumer of good quality of products that they get. Having an idea of the origin of the product would enable consumers to make healthy decisions when shopping for grocery related items. Many companies, like Walmart and other publicly traded blockchain and cryptocurrency stocks, have now introduced blockchain technology to trace and track products.