Five deaths and 96 hospitalizations occurred over the past year in the US due to E. Coli in romaine lettuce. Millions of bags and heads of romaine were removed from store shelves.
To speed up traceability during an outbreak, the big box retailer has partnered with IBM and food suppliers to provide a solution that runs on blockchain technology, along with training modules and webinars.
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According to Walmart’s open letter to suppliers, “All fresh leafy greens suppliers are expected to be able to trace their products back to farm(s) (by production lot) in seconds – not days. To do this, suppliers will be required to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using the IBM Food Trust network.”
As for Canadian suppliers, the same reality may not be too far away.
“Walmart Canada is currently exploring blockchain technology in our Canadian operations and we will share developments as appropriate,” says a representative.