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Following an E. coli outbreak in the United States linked to Roman lettuce, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering better tracking and traceability methods and this includes the use of blockchain technology.
Speaking to the CNBC commercial news channel, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced that the federal agency has hired Walmart vice president of food safety, Frank Yiannas, as vice commissioner for food and veterinary products. Yiannas is expected to introduce new track-and-trace tools for the agency.
"We have a guy who starts … the former head of food safety at Walmart who is going to come to the FDA to help us put in place among other things, better track and track down using tools like blockchain maybe even to trace and tracing the food supply chain "
Identification of the problem
According to Gottlieb, whenever a "food-related epidemic" occurs, technologies such as blockchain will help to track down the cause of a particular distributor, farm or grower in the supply chain. This will avoid blanket notices that affect everyone even when the cause is limited to a particular origin.
Prior to joining the FDA, Yiannas was instrumental in implementing blockchain technology at Walmart with the goal of tracking the leafy greens, as reported by CCN in September. This included the food traceability initiative that required producers of fresh, leafy vegetables to use blockchain technology to track and track these products. Walmart gave the suppliers a year to make sure the systems were ready for the take-off of the program.
Walmart asks salad growers to use Blockchain for food security https://t.co/M5wDn3Oh2C
– CCN (@CryptoCoinsNews) September 26, 2018
While announcing the initiative at that time, Walmart noted that several states in the United States had suffered from E. coli outbreaks related to Roman lettuce and this had led to 96 hospitalizations and five deaths. With the blockchain technology, the great retailer of added boxes, product information as the source would become available throughout the supply chain in real time.
"In the future, using the technology we are requesting, a customer could potentially scan a bag of salad and know for sure where it comes from"
Yianna said at the time.
Outside the US, French retail giant Carrefour took steps similar to Walmart by integrating IBM's custom-built blockchain system known as Food Trust with the goal of improving food security.
And about four months ago, the Food Standards Agency, the UK food safety control body, announced that a technological experimentation on the blockchain to trace the beef from the slaughterhouse to the final consumer had ended successfully.
Shutterstock foreground image.
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