IBM launches blockchain based food traceability platform

IBM's Food Trust platform has already been subscribed to key industry players such as Carrefour, Nestle and Walmart


IBM has launched IBM Food Trust, a blockchain based food traceability platform for retailers, wholesalers and suppliers.

The new platform has already been subscribed by large players such as Carrefour, Nestle, Tyson Food, Unilever and, perhaps most notably, Walmart. It is also available to SMEs in the food industry supply chain, with subscription fees ranging from $100–$10,000 a month.

"This launch marks one of the first times that an enterprise blockchain network has been fully deployed at this degree of scale," IBM stated.

During the 18 months of testing, 3 million transactions have been processed on the Food Trust ledger, however Ramesh Gopinath, IBM's VP of blockchain solutions has announced that the system is live and "if anything it will be ten times faster".

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Transparency is key in the food supply chain industry to ensure that products reaching customers are up to standard. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that foodborne illnesses affect 47.8 million people in the US each year. The CDC also referenced an incident earlier this year where romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli bacteria led to 96 hospitalizations and five deaths.

According to Bridget Van Kralingen, Senior VP for IBM Global Industries, the Food Trust platform provides companies with a collaborative approach allowing blockchain technology to strengthen transparency. "The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared," she added.

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