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Tsinghua University, Walmart and IBM Collaboration to Track Food Production in China

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Tsinghua University, Walmart and IBM Collaboration to Track Food Production in China

Blockchain technology, which powers the virtual currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of respective mainframes. It has benefited popularity worldwide due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets across practically all businesses.  Chinese food safety practices have raised concern about contamination in China and in countries where Chinese food products are imported, and the new project desire to trace the movement of meat, vegetables and other products.  China’s government has labeled food authentication and supply chain tracking as a critical step to quickly find and get rid of the causes of pollution.  With blockchain, the movement of food products can be digitally tracked from suppliers including farms to the store shelves and ultimately to consumers.

IBM said this could be done on the blockchain, which provides a permanent record of transactions that cannot be altered.  This would serve as a viable alternative to traditional paper tracking and manual inspection systems.  Advanced technology has reached into so many aspects of modern life but it has lagged in food trace-ability, and in particular in creating more secure food supply chains.  When applied to the food supply chain, product information such as farm origin details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures and shipping details are digitally connected to food items, and the information is entered on the blockchain at every step of the process.  The information in each transaction is agreed upon by all participants of the business network. Once a consensus is reached, it becomes a permanent record that cannot be changed.

The record created by the blockchain can also help retailers like Walmart better manage the shelf-life of products in individual stores, further authenticity.strengthening safeguards related to food  The world’s largest retailer also announced the opening of the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing in response to China’s initiatives on food safety, and said blockchain technology would be a major part of the program.  Walmart will be using IBM Blockchain based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, which is an open source software project that builds blockchain tools.  Tsinghua University, located in Beijing, will perform as an scholastic partner and consultant on the blockchain proposal.

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