IBM blockchain-enabled food safety network expands

October 08, 2018 // By Rich Pell
IBM (Armonk, NY) has announced the general availability of its blockchain-enabled food supply chain network.

The blockchain-based IBM Food Trust cloud network is designed to offer participating retailers, suppliers, growers, and food industry providers with data from across the food ecosystem to enable greater traceability, transparency, and efficiency. After 18 months in testing, says the company, during which millions of individual food products have been tracked by retailers and suppliers, the network is now generally available.

In addition, the company announced, leading global retailer Carrefour announced that they will use the IBM Food Trust blockchain network to strengthen their food excellence actions. With more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries, Carrefour will initially use the solution to highlight consumers' confidence in a number of Carrefour-branded products, and expects to expand it to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022.

Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour says, "Being a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform is a great opportunity for Carrefour to accelerate and widen the integration of blockchain technology to our products in order to provide our clients with safe and undoubted traceability. This is a decisive step in the roll-out of Act for Food, our global program of concrete initiatives in favor of the food transition."

The use of blockchain for trusted transactions enables food products to be quickly traced back to their source in as quickly as a few seconds instead of the days or weeks using previous methods. Unlike traditional databases, says IBM, the attributes of blockchain and the ability to permission data, enables network members to gain a new level of trusted information.

Transactions are endorsed by multiple parties, leading to an immutable single version of the truth. (Also see a related infographic: " How Blockchain Could Mend our Fractured Global Food Supply Chain .")

"The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared," says Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain.

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