Last October, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation said it would invest $25 million over five years on projects to advance food safety in China, and on March 28, it celebrated the official opening of its new Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in Beijing.
Rebecca Lui, a spokesperson for Walmart, says that the retailer has teamed with IBM and Tsinghua University on a collaboration to improve the way food is tracked, transported, and sold to consumers across China.
“To put food safety to work, we need the whole industry to collaborate—from the suppliers to the distributors to the retailers,” she says. “By harnessing the power of blockchain technology designed to generate transparency and efficiency in supply chain recordkeeping, this work aims to help enhance the safety of food on the tables of Chinese consumers.”
Currently, the collaboration is conducting a pilot program of blockchain technology on safety issues surrounding pork, and it expects to release the results of that test later this year.
“As advocates of promoting greater transparency in the food system for Chinese consumers, we look forward to working with IBM and Tsinghua University to explore how blockchain might be used as an effective food traceability solution,” says Frank Yiannas, vice president of global food safety at Walmart. “We are excited to see this initiative born in China leading us into a new era of transparency.”
Earlier this year, China’s State Council released its 13th a Five-Year Plan for Food Safety, designed to review the status of China’s food safety during the 12th Five-Year Plan Period (2011-2015), and laying out four key objectives for the years ahead.
About Keith Loria
A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is an award-winning journalist who has been writing for major newspapers and magazines for close to 20 years, on topics as diverse as food, sports, business, theater, and government. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at Rinkside, BCA Insider, and Soap Opera Digest. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.