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Companies consider blockchain to keep an eye on food

AP

As people become more interested in understanding where their food is coming from, blockchain technologies are being eyed as a way to track and record the source of food from the farm to the dining room table, Bloomberg reports.

  • Blockchain is a shared, cryptographically secure ledger of transactions.
  • It's a growing business opportunity in China, where food fraud can be a big problem.
  • Why it matters: Michigan State University"s Food Fraud Initiative says fraud costs the global food industry as much as $40 billion annually. Pew Research Center found that 40 percent of Chinese see food safety is a "very big problem," up from 12% in 2008.

Examples:

  • Wal-Mart is completing a trial using blockchain technologies to track pork in China, cutting the time it takes to track the meat's supply chain from 26 hours to a few seconds, the company tells Bloomberg.
  • Shanghai-based Zhong An Information and Technology Services Co. recently said it will use the technology to track chickens from the coop to the processing facility to the store.
  • Alibaba Group is also working on a blockchain project that will include its food suppliers in Australia and New Zealand.