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Unilever and Nestle working with IBM Blockchain for Food Suppply Chain

Tuesday 29th August, 2017

A group of more than 10 companies will work with IBM to help develop its corporate blockchain platform for use in the food supply chain.

The technology should improve visibility so that in the event of an incident, such as a contamination, firms can trace the source and take dangerous products off the shelf quickly.

Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain, said: “Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organisations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth.

Blockchain is a form of distributed ledger where multiple copies of the same database are stored across different computers. These constantly communicate with each other, verifying the integrity of the database and sharing ‘blocks’ of new information.

The technology is well known for its role behind the digital currency Bitcoin, but is also well suited for use in supply chains as it allows multiple parties across the chain to instantly review and update the same ledger securely while allowing changes to be tracked.

As well as improving food safety, IBM also wants to use blockchain to automate billing, invoicing and auditing.

IBM has already piloted its blockchain technology with Walmart – also a partner in this latest collaboration – to verify the integrity of pork supply chains in China. The tech firm is now looking to scale up its platform.

The technology has also been used by other companies. One social enterprise is using it to verify that seafood supply chains are slavery free.

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