Global technology company IBM has collaborated with a consortium of major food companies to explore the use of blockchain technology to address food safety in the global supply chain.

The consortium includes producers and retailers such as Dole, Driscoll's, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart.

According to IBM, blockchain is suitable for addressing challenges such as cross-contamination, the spread of food-borne illness, unnecessary waste and the economic impact of recalls.

"Blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organisations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth."

The network provides access for global food supply chain participants such as growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.

This will enable to trace contaminated product to its source in a short amount of time to ensure safe removal from store shelves and prevent the spread of illnesses.

IBM Blockchain general manager Marie Wieck said: "Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organisations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth.

"Our work with organisations across the food ecosystem, as well as IBM's new platform, will further unleash the vast potential of this exciting technology, making it faster for organisations of all sizes and in all industries to move from concept to production to improve the way business gets done."

In order to accelerate this adoption, IBM is introducing the first fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform, which will enable organisations to activate their business networks, as well as access the capabilities needed to successfully develop, operate, govern and secure them.


Image: A crate of oranges being scanned as part of a food safety blockchain. Photo: courtesy of IBM.