Walmart and its division Sam’s Club have asked their suppliers of leafy greens to join a blockchain-based supply chain tracking system. Producers will be required to adopt this new platform by the end of January 2020.
E.coli bacteria outbreak in romaine lettuce
This development comes as several produce companies located in Yuma, Arizona and Salinas Valley have been affected by the nationwide scare over E.coli and Salmonella affected romaine lettuce. The 36-state outbreak of E.coli bacteria left five people dead and nearly two-hundred sick since it began in the month of April. The situation became so drastic that an unusual national advisory was issued to the consumers to avoid lettuce grown in the Yuma region. Officials acknowledged that most of the consumers were baffled and unable to ascertain that where their lettuce was grown. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also consulted with the retail-giant Walmart to enhance the traceability of their items so that the public officials are better able to trace the origins of food-borne disease outbreaks.
Blockchain can greatly enhance product traceability
“It is highly difficult for an average consumer to exactly know the origin of their lettuce as none of the salad bags had ‘Yuma, Arizona’ on them,” explained Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart. “We are ensuring that our suppliers of fresh leafy greens have the full ability to trace back their products to the source farms and that too in seconds instead of days or week. This technology will enable our customers to know the origin of their salads just by scanning its packaging bag,” Frank Yiannas elaborated.
Blockchain technology, based on an encrypted system of distributed information management, can enable Walmart and its suppliers to curtail the high number of product recalls involving Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. For the last few years, Walmart has been experimenting with blockchain technology in various sectors and this adoption should not come as a surprise.
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