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Walmart, Nestlé SA, and other eight companies have formed Food Trust, a consortium that will leverage blockchain technology to the food supply chain. Currently, bad food can easily get into the supply chain as the companies don’t have a detailed and complete monitoring of the movement of foods. Under current regulations, companies must register only a few steps, and many of them are still using paper documents to record data. However, this will change thanks to distributed ledger technology (DLT), the consortium members hope.

The group has tested blockchain for about a year, and now they've decided to roll out the technology. By doing so, the Food Trust hopes to improve recalls and rapidly find issues.

Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s VP of food safety, said:

“You’re capturing real-time data at every point, on every single food product. It’s the equivalent of FedEx tracking for food.”

Chris Tyas, Nestlé’s global head of supply chain, commented:

“We are competitors, yes, but working together to ensure the trust of consumers.”

The group also include companies like Unilever NV, Dole Food Co., Driscoll’s Inc., Golden State Foods, McCormick and Co, Kroger, McLane, and Tyson Foods.

The platform for the Food Trust will be developed based on technology provided by IBM, one of the most active blockchain adopters. The tech giant revealed that the system records data related to 1 million products in about 50 food categories, such as Driscoll’s strawberries, Nestlé canned pumpkin, and Tyson chicken thighs.

The group hopes to benefit from the technology in order to avoid crises like the recent E. coli bacteria contamination of romaine lettuce that the CDC claims has sickened 197 people in 35 states, with five dead.

Recently, Walmart was awarded three blockchain-related patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, but none of those is related to the food supply chain.