Walmart China turns to blockchain for food safety

PwC and VeChain used for blockchain system that will cover 100 product lines by the end of 2019.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Walmart China has teamed up with PWC and VeChainThor Blockchain to create what is dubbed the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform.

At this stage, 23 product lines are using the platform, and that number is expected to rise up to 100 by the end of the year. At the end of 2020, the goal is to have 50% of Walmart's packaged fresh meat, 50% of its packaged vegetables, and 12.5% of all seafood sales tracked on the platform.

"By scanning the desired products, customers can acquire detailed information, including the source of the scanned products and geographic location received by Walmart, logistics process, product inspection report, and many more data points," VeChain said.

The blockchain company also claimed the proprietary platform is tamper-proof.

"This platform enhances the transparency of product information, ensures the authenticity of product data, and boosts the trust of their consumers," it said.

"In the future, the Walmart China Traceability Platform shall adopt multilateral cooperation, synchronising data from local governments' traceability platforms and suppliers' own platforms, so as to provide customers with safe and high-quality products."

The issue of food safety in the Middle Kingdom has been constant since six children were killed from the addition of melamine to baby formula in 2008.

Walmart is no stranger to using blockchain, with the company working with IBM in the United States.

"Our customers deserve a more transparent supply chain. We felt the one-step-up and one-step-back model of food traceability was outdated for the 21st century," Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart said in September.

"This is a smart, technology-supported move that will greatly benefit our customers and transform the food system, benefiting all stakeholders."

While using blockchain is fine in China, mining for cryptocurrency is not, as Beijing clamped down on wasting energy for virtual currency creation earlier this year.

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