May 15, 2021


BLOCKCHAIN: Improving Trust In Food

The outbreak appears to be over. CDC is no longer advising people to avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California. E. coli is an important cause of illness in the United States… A total of 167 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli o157:H7 were reported from 27 states. A total of 85 hospitalizations were reported, including 15 people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome(kidney failure) no deaths were reported. These are the words of the Center for disease control.  How many people could have been affected by this due to their own ignorance or lack of access to information?

For thousands of years food has been harvested by growers, purchased by consumers, carried across land, and sea trading on spice for another. Salt has been offered as gifts to celestial bodies but who other than the merchants carrying these loads knew of the conditions food experienced through travel?  CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans(or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food borne diseases. I believe shining a little light on the process from farm to fork will provide transparency to combat issues within the food and beverage industry.


Well how do we create this transparency? We do so with implementation of efficient blockchain architecture. But what is Blockchain? It’s a peer to peer ledger system that allows peers to transact between them without any centralized authority, it’s completely in the hands of the people who participate. An example of one type of blockchain created to improve food and beverage is the IBM Food Trust, which is a permissioned(you have to be given access). This BLOCK operates on a hyper-ledger network fabric allowing participants of the supply chain to have access to an immutable distributed ledger that can only be added to. in this consortium all players provide updates on a specific item from farm to fork.If an E. coli outbreak occurred in the supply of romaine lettuce at Walmart, then the business can now pinpoint exactly where this problem began, what time, and execute tactics to resolve the problem.

It takes collaboration to combat issues such as, food fraud which is responsible for 99,487 illnesses and 380 deaths due to acute food borne illnesses. China experiences unbelievably amounts of fraud and ironically is heavily invested in blockchain technology. The technology empowers consumers to become part of the supply chain and detect fraudulent clothing, liquor or rat meat passed off as mutton. By using their phones to scan QR codes on products they will be able to verify and validate the product and where it was created, how it was handled, who delivered it, and how it helps the families of the farmers.


I believe that this technology can become the tool which improves food policies around the world. that it can educate our children of the cultures associated with whats being consumed and build trust and confidence in their consumption. so I leave you with this, “54% of consumers say it’s at least somewhat important that the food they buy is produced in an environmentally  sustainable way.” IBM FOOD TRUST.



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