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Companies are testing blockchain technology to keep food fresh

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Ten major food and retail companies are partnering with IBM to test the use of blockchain technology to track food throughout complex global supply chains.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Mike Blake
Whole Foods
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The companies that will take part in the trial are: Nestle, Unilever, Tyson Foods, Kroger, Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, McCormick, McLane, and Walmart.

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Tracking food contamination is an imprecise science, often taking companies weeks to learn exactly what products need to be pulled from store shelves.

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With blockchain tech, food safety monitors could scan a barcode from a contaminated shipment to learn where it came from and immediately see where products from the same shipment ended up.

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Walmart tested the system as part of IBM’s pilot program and reported it was able to trace the farm of origin for a mango shipment in 2.2 seconds, down from almost seven days.

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The companies involved in the IBM trial will help identify benefits and ensure industry standards for security and scalability are met, though it could be years before the system is implemented more broadly.

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