An old dream could come true with blockchain: total transparency of the entire food supply chain from farm to fork. Today’s consumers want to know what they eat – where the food comes from, how it is produced, stored, transported and treated. Suppliers and dealers want to limit their liability, and authorities want to be able to provide information more quickly in the event of contamination.
Traceability is already at a high level. And yet it still happens time and again that when food is recalled, information is incomplete and comes much too late. The World Health Organization (WHO) deplores the fact that every year one in ten people worldwide fall ill and 400,000 die due to contaminated food. Ten of the world’s leading food companies, including Dole, Driscoll’s, Nestlé, Unilever and Walmart, have now announced to make the food supply chain safer and more transparent with blockchain technology in collaboration with IBM, thus improving consumer confidence.
Farmers and growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers will gain access to trusted real-time information regarding the origin and state of food. Blockchain technology establishes a trusted environment in which transactions can be carried out in a transparent way. Food providers and other members of the food ecosystem can safely identify contaminated products and immediately remove them from the store shelves. As a result, fewer people will fall ill and waste will be reduced.
Together with IBM the food giants want to identify the areas in which blockchain technology has the greatest impact and give them priority. “Blockchain technology is transforming the way like-minded organizations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth,” said Marie Wieck, IBM General Manager, Blockchain. “Our work with organizations across the food ecosystem will improve the way business gets done with blockchain.”