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IBM launches Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China with Walmart, JD and Tsinghua University

IBM has announced a new collaboration with Chinese e-commerce companies and educational institute that will work to apply blockchain technology for food traceability to support offline and online consumers.

IBM, in collaboration with Walmart, JD.com, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies, has announced a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China.

The alliance members will work to develop a standards-based method of collecting data on the origin, safety, and authenticity of food, using blockchain technology. This will help provide real-time traceability throughout the supply chain, encourage accountability, and give suppliers, regulators, and consumers greater insight and transparency into how food is handled, from the farm to consumers.

According to the official release, the consortium will work with food supply chain providers and regulators to develop the standards, solutions, and partnerships to enable a broad-based food safety ecosystem in China.

This follows IBM and Walmart’s announcement in August of a consortium with global food supply chain companies to identify and prioritize areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain. Last October, Walmart announced its partnership with IBM and Tsinghua University in a pilot project to explore the potentials of blockchain technology in order to improve the way food is tracked, transported and sold to customers across China.

“By expanding our food safety work with Walmart and Tsinghua University in China and adding new collaborators like JD.com, the technology brings traceability and transparency to a broader network of food supply chain participants,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Industry Platforms.

IBM will provide its IBM Blockchain Platform and expertise, while Tsinghua University will act as a technical advisor sharing its expertise in the key technologies and the China food safety ecosystem. IBM and Tsinghua will collaborate with Walmart and JD to develop, optimize and roll out the technology to suppliers and retailers that join the alliance. The insights gained from the initiative will help understand how blockchain technology could improve processes such as recalls and verifications and enhance consumer confidence due to greater transparency in China and around the world.

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