Frank Yiannas, Walmart Vice President of Food Safety and Health, made the announcement Monday at the MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Yiannas said that Blockchain was able to shorten the time it took to track produce from six days to two seconds. Walmart is getting suppliers to put food on a Blockchain, which it says will reduce waste, as well as improve contamination management and transparency.
Walmart, in collaboration with IBM, began to test the technology to identify and remove recalled foods from its products list in 2016. With a Blockchain-based system, the company reportedly is able to verify any information about products and, thanks to the technology’s decentralized nature, is protected from hacking attacks and data alterations.
In March, Walmart submitted an application for a patent on its “Smart Package” system. The system is designed to track package contents, environmental conditions, location, and other details. According to the patent, the device is intended to be used in new technologies like autonomous vehicles and unmanned drones.
Using Blockchain for quality assurance purposes has been a popular trend among international retailers. JD.com, the leading Chinese e-commerce site, is also implementing Blockchain technology to assure the quality and origin of meat. JD said that customers will be able to monitor their meat from the farm in Australia where it was raised, all the way to their doorstep.