According to hortidaily.com, grocery giants Walmart and Sam's Club are requiring their lettuce suppliers to get into blockchain technology, and quickly. The companies announced recently that those providing leafy greens to the grocery chains will need to upload data about their foods to blockchain within a year.
They highlighted an E. colioutbreak in romaine lettuce earlier this year that killed five and affected more than 200 people, and salmonella in products such as eggs and breakfast cereal. Using blockchain and storing the information digitally, a supplier could theoretically identify the infected farms more quickly, and stop the supply to restaurants and consumers.
"Walmart believes the current one-step up and one-step back model of food traceability is outdated for the 21st century and that by, working together, we can do better," Walmart said in its letter to suppliers. "There is no question that there is a strong public-health and business-case for enhanced food traceability."
With blockchain, all fresh leafy greens suppliers are expected to be able to trace their products back to farms "in seconds, not days," Walmart said. Direct suppliers will be required to conform to Walmart's standards and "enable end-to-end traceability" back to farms by September 30, 2019.
Currently, there is no such requirement in Canada.
FarmandDairy.com reported that earlier this year, Walmart and nine other companies announced creation of the Food Trust Blockchain, built by IBM. This platform enables all participants in the food chain to monitor, record, and store data about the movement and processing of food products. Food Trust already tracks one million items in 50 different food categories.