Wallmart partnered with IBM to build the IBM food trust. This food safety application creates an ecosystem of producers, suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that feed the product’s supply chain application. IBM food trust is a permissioned, permanent, shared record of food system data that allows at any time to audit and check the provenance of any product.
Why is this important? Some well-known cases of salmonella outbreaks in the USA resulted in people getting sick, some dead, and millions of dollars of losses for the industry. From peanut butter to lettuce and spinach, it was extremely hard to trace the salmonella contaminations, which resulted in nationwide withdrawals of all the lettuce and all the spinach and peanut butter to avoid more people getting sick.
The problem was that a few years ago, Walmart, for example, would take approximately 7 days to trace a batch of lettuce back to the farmer. With Food Trust, it is possible to trace the product’s origin in a few seconds only.
Walmart looked at blockchain as a good fit for a decentralized food ecosystem. To develop the application, they partnered with IBM and developed the application using Hyperledger Fabric. According to Karl Bedwell, Senior Director at Walmart Technology, “IBM brought Hyperledger Fabric to us.
We looked into Ethereum, the Burrow project, and others. Ultimately, we decided to go with Hyperledger Fabric because it met most of our needs for blockchain technology. We felt that it best met our needs.
It is enterprise-grade blockchain technology, and it is permissioned.” The IBM Food Trust platform is currently offered as BaaS – Blockchain as a Service by IBM Cloud.