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IBM launches blockchain-based food supply chain network; Carrefour and others join in

Tue, 09 Oct 2018, 03:36 am UTC

IBM has announced growing adoption of its blockchain-based food supply chain network, IBM Food Trust, which is now available after 18 months of testing.

In August 2017, global giants including the likes of Walmart, Unilever, and Nestlé, in collaboration with IBM, teamed up to develop a blockchain to improve the supply chain management of food products.

Leading global retailer Carrefour, which has more than 12,000 stores in 33 countries, is the latest addition to the cohort and has announced its plans to use the IBM Food Trust blockchain network to strengthen its food excellence actions. As a commitment of its Act for Food program, the solution is expected to expand to all Carrefour brands worldwide by 2022.

"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," said Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour. "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."

In addition to Carrefour, organizations joining IBM Food Trust include leading cooperative Topco Associates, retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern, and suppliers including BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular and Smithfield.

IBM further said that it is working with services and technology providers to contribute supply chain, provenance, testing, and sensor data to the blockchain ecosystem.

This includes 3M, which is working with IBM to enable its food safety diagnostic equipment to communicate with the blockchain network; Centricity, which makes it easy to collect, protect and share agronomic and compliance data between systems and trading partners; Trellis Framework, which will enable real-time connections between companies and machines with full automation that scales; and Emerson, which will provide temperature-related information on in-transit, refrigerated cargo to improve shelf life estimates and food freshness.

"The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared," Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain. "That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers."

[Correction: Edits second para to mention that the initiative was officially announced In August 2017.]

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