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Albertsons To Join Blockchain-based IBM Food Trust Network

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Privately held US retail chain Albertsons Companies is joining the blockchain-based IBM Food Trust network to trace food from farm to store shelf. It will begin a pilot to trace bulk romaine lettuce from the supplier to the store for greater supply chain efficiency and more targeted recalls.

The pilot will initially be conducted with one of Albertsons' distribution centers. It will then be expanded to other food categories throughout its distribution network. Albertsons is evaluating ways to highlight the provenance of its extensive Own Brands portfolio.

The use of blockchain guarantees consumers complete product traceability where food can be quickly traced back to its source in as little as a few seconds instead of days or weeks. It can also help in quickly identifying the source of the problem or contamination as one can see across the whole ecosystem using the data to pinpoint it to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

IBM Food Trust uses blockchain technology to create visibility and accountability in the food supply by digitizing transactions and data. Its network connects growers, processors, distributors, shippers, retailers, regulators, and consumers through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data.

The solution creates a digital record of transactions or interactions - from a packaging date, to the temperature at which an item was shipped, to its arrival on a grocery shelf.

The complete history and current location of any individual food item, as well as accompanying information such as certifications, test data and temperature data, will be available in seconds once uploaded onto the blockchain.

Food Trust enables network members to share digital, distributed and immutable data, so that stakeholders across the supply chain can work together to trace and authenticate products or optimize supply chain processes.

IBM's blockchain-based food traceability platform was launched for commercial use in early October 2018 after 18 months of testing. French grocery retailer Carrefour joined IBM's blockchain-based Cloud network, IBM Food Trust, in October 2018 itself.

Other firms that are part of IBM Food Trust include Topco Associates, Wakefern, BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular, and Smithfield. Other participants include multinational companies such as Nestle, Kroger, Tyson Foods, Kroger and Unilever.

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