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Food Traceability on Blockchain: Walmart’s Pork and Mango Pilots with IBM

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Abstract

In response to food contamination scandals worldwide, retail giant Walmart is tackling food safety in the supply chain using blockchain technology. In 2016, it established the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing and plans to invest $25 million over five years to research global food safety (Yiannas and Liu, 2017). Using IBM’s blockchain solution based on Hyperledger Fabric, Walmart has successfully completed two blockchain pilots: pork in China and mangoes in the Americas (IBM, 2017). With a farm-to-table approach, Walmart’s blockchain solution reduced time for tracking mango origins from seven days to 2.2 seconds and promoted greater transparency across Walmart’s food supply chain (Yiannas, 2017). IBM called it “complete end-to-end traceability” (McDermott, 2017). The case highlights the challenges of implementing blockchain technology in the food supply chain and the opportunities for deploying blockchain solutions throughout the global food ecosystem to increase safety and reduce waste.
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... Doing so reduces consumers' health risk perception and enhances consumers' confidence in purchasing and consuming products [24,25]. However, as cutting-edge technology, blockchain traceability is still in its infancy and is at the stage of small-scale pilot and exploration at the enterprise level [26,27]. ...
... Based on the above findings, the following policy implications can be drawn. The application of blockchain in food supply chain traceability has broad prospects, but there are still few projects involving blockchain in the field of food traceability, and most of the projects have been implemented as pilot projects [26,27]. Therefore, the development, acceptance, and application of blockchain traceability systems should be accelerated at the provincial and national levels in China, especially for the high-educated and high-income groups. ...
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