Home / Blockchain / Walmart's blockchain offers technological solutions, but there's more in the leafy green of the data

Walmart's blockchain offers technological solutions, but there's more in the leafy green of the data

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Workers tend to a field of green leafy vegetables in the Salinas Valley of California. Photographer: Noah Berger / Bloomberg News. CREDIT: Bloomberg

Walmart has made an important one ad this week & nbsp; to his leafy green growers. In a decision that will test the highly claimed potential of blockchain in food, Walmart's green leafy vegetable suppliers will be required to join the company's blockchain by next year.

The technology is still relatively new to the food industry, and there has been a lot of discussion about what it could do, from increased efficiency in the supply chain to give consumers the chance to check if a carton of eggs is free of cage. After last year's Romaine outbreak, Frank Yiannas, vice president of Food Safety for Walmart, said the leafy greens needed a paradigm shift.

Most of the lettuce grown in the United States is perfectly safe to eat, but lettuce and salads can be vulnerable to pathogens, which makes the attacks particularly devastating. "When problems occur, it is often associated with green leafy vegetables," explains Yiannas.

Because, together with his colleagues, they were considering several areas of the food system in which Walmart could implement blockchain technology, they felt it made more sense to start digital traceability that could potentially have the greatest impact on public health. "[I]It's time to go further … what I would call [the] traditional model … of a step forward, a traceability of a step backwards. It does not work for the 21st century, "explains Yiannas.

Trevor Suslow, a food security scientist at the University of California at Davis, says leafy greens may be more susceptible for a number of reasons: how often do Americans eat lettuce and salad, problems with? aerial irrigation and the green leafy structure of the lettuce itself. "If there was a contamination event somewhere … it could survive more than it would on something & nbsp;[with a] smoother and smoother surface, "he explains.

Epidemics have historically stimulated changes in the sector. After the 2006 spinach blast, Californian growers, under the supervision of the California Department of Agriculture, formed the Agreement on the market for workers handling green leafy products in California in order to improve food safety protocols & nbsp; in the & nbsp; green leafy vegetable production sector.

It looks like it's working well for the better part of ten years, says Suslow. "Nobody knows exactly what has changed". Last year's outbreak seemed even more devastating than in 2006, says Suslow, because the farmers had put much hope in the effort of the LGMA, hoping they would not'I see another outbreak of that magnitude.

When an epidemic occurs in leafy greens, there is a rapid and devastating impact on the whole food system. & Nbsp; People get sick. The CDC& nbsp; scramble & nbsp; to identify the source of the epidemic, and in the meantime, American consumers, who generally enjoy an incredibly safe food system, suddenly feel that their health is at risk and that they may even avoid consuming these healthy greens.

Walmart's Yiannas states that this was one of the reasons we focused on green leafy vegetables: "many farmers' livelihoods" [were] destroyed. We know … some of them would not do it'They were implicated if the system had been able to identify [the outbreak] with precision and speed. "

Enter blockchain. Blockchain is a technology originally developed & nbsp; as part of & nbsp; the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but the Walmart-IBM blockchain operates slightly differently. This blockchain is a consortium, which means it can only be reached by members of the Walmart supply chain, & nbsp; which includes the hundreds of green leafy vegetable growers who received the Walmart letter. & Nbsp; And the data collected, at least some of them, will be public as well. At least this is the goal. & Nbsp; Walmart predicts that consumers will finally be able to learn where their lettuce comes from within seconds, infusing the confidence that their greens are safe.

Peter Manuel uploads freshly picked organic products to a forklift truck at an Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville, California. CREDIT: Photographer: Ryan Anson / Bloomberg News

The Walmart system was designed to accommodate farmers with different levels of technical experience. Yiannas explains, "we'I worked like this'It's as simple as … farmers who use an intelligent device … to acquire information. "E & nbsp; unreliable Internet connectivity should not be a deterrent because even if the farmer can not get Internet access in the field, the information can always be uploaded later.

But the blockchain does not replace the underlying food safety protocols. As food security researcher Trevor Suslow explains, there are no simple solutions when it comes to green leafy vegetables. "Someone [might suggest] drip irrigation … but there are many reasons [wouldn’t work, having to do with] production [and land use] efficiencies and …[the fact] that have these very large beds "of lettuce.

Treating water heavily would not necessarily be the right solution, as these chemicals can have consequences on the health and the environment of the soil. "It's a chain effect for all these decisions," says Suslow, "and improving traceability with the blockchain is" only part of the response and recovery needed ".

Dan Sutton, a leafy vegetable grower with the Pismo Oceano vegetable exchange, says he personally takes food security. Some consumers have the perception that today's farmers are just gigantic societies, but wants people to know that their green-leaf cultivation operation is a family farm that spans more generations.

Walmart is, of course, one of those giant corporations, but its size means that Walmart has the power to significantly influence the food system in every decision, including this one. Explain Yianna, "this question of food we consider a very important responsibility … I think without a doubt, [blockchain] … will enable farmers and stakeholders in the food system in general to manage smarter food systems and achieve a more sustainable system ".

As a farmer, Sutton sees the potential of the blockchain. But remember that there is more in the picture, says Suslow, food safety scientist, because blockchain does not replace other technologies. He sees how the blockchain could be useful for industry and regulators to get to the bottom of an epidemic much more quickly than they did last year during the Roma epidemic, but this did not it will necessarily be easy to adopt for all growers. "For some people it's an easy transition, others will be a mountain to climb".

Sutton says that it was changed forever from a visit to the farm after the outbreak of 2006. The farm has hosted a number of people suffering from food illnesses and says it struggles to explain how significant the visit was: "you hear that the news say it was x the amount of people … sick or hospitalized, [but] those faces have replaced all that data … In fact it was … a very, very emotional experience for me. At the time I was a young father … and their stories went straight to the heart ".

Walmart's Yiannas says he believes digital blockchain technology is "just as important for agriculture and agriculture as [traditional] agricultural tools. "For green leafy vegetable growers, it's & nbsp; the last circle through which they're more than willing to jump, if that means keeping their food & nbsp; safe for everyone who eats it .

& Nbsp;

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Workers tend to a field of green leafy vegetables in the Salinas Valley of California. Photographer: Noah Berger / Bloomberg News. CREDIT: Bloomberg

Walmart made an important announcement this week to his leafy green growers. In a decision that will test the highly claimed potential of blockchain in food, Walmart's green leafy vegetable suppliers will be required to join the company's blockchain by next year.

The technology is still relatively new to the food industry, and there has been a lot of discussion about what it could do, from increased efficiency in the supply chain to give consumers the chance to check if a carton of eggs is free of cage. After last year's Romaine outbreak, Frank Yiannas, vice president of Food Safety for Walmart, said the leafy greens needed a paradigm shift.

Most of the lettuce grown in the United States is perfectly safe to eat, but lettuce and salads can be vulnerable to pathogens, which makes the attacks particularly devastating. "When problems occur, it is often associated with green leafy vegetables," explains Yiannas.

While he and his colleagues were considering different areas of the food system in which Walmart could implement blockchain technology, they felt it made more sense to start where digital traceability could potentially have the greatest impact on public health. "[I]It's time to go further … what I would call [the] traditional model … of a step forward, a traceability of a step backwards. It does not work for the 21st century, "explains Yiannas.

Trevor Suslow, a food security scientist at the University of California at Davis, says leafy greens may be more susceptible for a number of reasons: how often do Americans eat lettuce and salad, problems with? aerial irrigation and the green leafy structure of the lettuce itself. "If there was a contamination event somewhere … it could survive more than it would on something [with a] smoother and smoother surface, "he explains.

Epidemics have historically stimulated changes in the sector. After the 2006 spinach blast, Californian growers, under the supervision of the California Department of Agriculture, have entered into the California green leaf growers market to improve food safety in the growing green industry.

It looks like it's working well for the better part of ten years, says Suslow. "Nobody knows exactly what has changed". Last year's outbreak seemed even more devastating than in 2006, says Suslow, because the farmers had put much hope in the effort of LGMA, hoping they would not'I see another outbreak of that magnitude.

When an epidemic occurs in leafy greens, there is a rapid and devastating impact on the whole food system. People get sick The CDC is quick to spot the source of the epidemic and, in the meantime, American consumers, who generally enjoy an incredibly safe food system, suddenly feel that their health is at risk and can even avoid consume these healthy greens.

Walmart's Yiannas states that this was one of the reasons we focused on green leafy vegetables: "many farmers' livelihoods" [were] destroyed. We know … some of them would not do it'They were implicated if the system had been able to identify [the outbreak] with precision and speed. "

Enter blockchain. Blockchain is a technology originally developed as part of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, but the Walmart-IBM blockchain operates a little differently. This blockchain is a consortium, which means it can only be reached by members of the Walmart supply chain, which includes hundreds of green leafy vegetable growers who have received the Walmart letter. And the data collected, at least in part, will be public. At least this is the goal. Walmart imagines that consumers will eventually be able to learn where their lettuce comes from within seconds, infusing the confidence that their vegetables are safe.

Peter Manuel uploads freshly picked organic products to a forklift truck at an Lakeside Organic Gardens in Watsonville, California. CREDIT: Photographer: Ryan Anson / Bloomberg News

The Walmart system was designed to accommodate farmers with different levels of technical experience. Yiannas explains, "we'I worked like this'It's as simple as … farmers who use an intelligent device … to acquire information. "And unreliable Internet connectivity should not be a deterrent because even if the farmer can not get Internet access in the field, information can always be uploaded later.

But the blockchain does not replace the underlying food safety protocols. As food security researcher Trevor Suslow explains, there are no simple solutions when it comes to green leafy vegetables. "Someone [might suggest] drip irrigation … but there are many reasons [wouldn’t work, having to do with] production [and land use] efficiencies and …[the fact] that have these very large beds "of lettuce.

Even heavy water treatment would not necessarily be the right solution, as these chemicals can have consequences on the health and the environment of the soil. "It's a chain effect for all these decisions," says Suslow, "and improving traceability with the blockchain is" only part of the response and recovery needed ".

Dan Sutton, a leafy vegetable grower with the Pismo Oceano vegetable exchange, says he personally takes food security. Some consumers have the perception that farmers today are just gigantic societies, but want people to know that their operation of growing green leafy vegetables is a family business that spans several generations.

Walmart is one of those giant corporations, of course, but its size means that Walmart has the power to significantly influence the food system with every decision, including this one. Explain Yianna, "this question of food we consider a very important responsibility … I think without a doubt, [blockchain] … will enable farmers and stakeholders in the food system in general to manage smarter food systems and achieve a more sustainable system ".

As a farmer, Sutton sees the potential of the blockchain. But remember that there is more in the picture, says Suslow, food safety scientist, because blockchain does not replace other technologies. He sees how the blockchain could be useful for industry and regulators to get to the bottom of an epidemic much more quickly than they did last year during the Roma epidemic, but this did not it will necessarily be easy to adopt for all growers. "For some people it's an easy transition, others will be a mountain to climb".

Sutton says that it was changed forever from a visit to the farm after the outbreak of 2006. The farm has hosted a number of people suffering from food illnesses and says it struggles to explain how significant the visit was: "you hear that the news say it was x the amount of people … sick or hospitalized, [but] those faces have replaced all that data … In fact it was … a very, very emotional experience for me. At the time I was a young father … and their stories went straight to the heart ".

Walmart's Yiannas says he believes that blockchain digital book technology "will be as important for agriculture and agriculture as it is [traditional] agricultural tools. "For green leafy vegetable growers, it is the last circle through which they are more than willing to jump, if that means keeping their food safe for everyone who eats it.

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