Turbotodd

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Archive for the ‘food safety’ Category

Walmart, JD.com, IBM and Tsinghua University Launch a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China

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Walmart, JD.com, IBM, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announced today they will work together in a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance that will kick off with a collaboration designed to enhance food tracking, traceability and safety in China,  to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.

The four companies will work together to create a standards-based method of collecting data about the origin, safety and authenticity of food, using blockchain technology to provide real-time traceability throughout the supply chain.

This will encourage accountability and give suppliers, regulators and consumers greater insight and transparency into how food is handled, from the farm to consumers. This has traditionally been challenging due to complex and fragmented data sharing systems that are often paper-based and can be error-prone.

Walmart, JD, IBM and Tsinghua University 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.

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.

As a world leader in global food safety, Walmart works closely with suppliers, regulators, industry partners and the research community around the world. In China, it invests heavily in food safety research through the Walmart Food Safety and Collaboration Center and has promoted food safety, both through its own supplier network, as well as working with JD, which has rich omni-channel food supply chain management experience. The two have been able to leverage JD’s expertise in the application of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data and other new technologies to protect consumers.

Following IBM and Walmart’s announcement in August of a new consortium to enhance food safety, this collaboration brings IBM’s blockchain food safety expertise to China. IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University have piloted the use of blockchain to trace food items, including pork in China and mangoes in the U.S., as they move through the supply chain to store shelves. Recent testing by Walmart showed that applying blockchain reduced the time it took to trace a package of mangoes from the farm to the store from days or weeks to two seconds.

The collaboration is designed to help ensure brand owners’ data privacy while helping them integrate their online and offline traceability for food safety and quality management channels. Companies that join the alliance will be able to share information using blockchain technology, and plans include them being able to choose the standards-based traceability solution that best suits their needs and legacy systems. 

This will in turn bring greater transparency to the supply chain and introduce new technologies to the retail sector designed to create a safer food environment and enhance the consumer experience.

The insights gained from the work in China will shed light on how blockchain technology can help improve processes such as recalls and verifications and enhance consumer confidence due to greater transparency in China and around the world. 

Written by turbotodd

December 14, 2017 at 11:25 am

IBM Introduces Blockchain Platform, New Academic and Developer Initiatives to Advance Blockchain Skills

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A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain today announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM intended to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.

Every year, one-in-ten people fall ill – and 400,000 die – due to contaminated food. Many of the critical issues impacting food safety such as cross-contamination, the spread of food-borne illness, unnecessary waste and the economic burden of recalls are magnified by lack of access to information and traceability.

It can take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination, causing further illness, lost revenue and wasted product. For example, it took more than two months to identify the farm source of contamination in a recent incidence of salmonella in papayas.

Blockchain is ideally suited to help address these challenges because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions. In the case of the global food supply chain, all participants — growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers — can gain permissioned access to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.

This can enable food providers and other members of the ecosystem to use a blockchain network to trace contaminated product to its source in a short amount of time to ensure safe removal from store shelves and stem the spread of illnesses.

Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, Walmart and others are now coming together with IBM to further champion blockchain as an enabling technology for the food sector.

New IBM Blockchain Platform

Beyond food supply chain applications, blockchains are now being used to transform processes and streamline transactions for everything from flowers, real estate and trade finance, to education, insurance and medical services.

To accelerate this adoption, IBM is introducing the first fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform, as well as consulting services, that will allow more organizations to quickly activate their own business networks and access the vital capabilities needed to successfully develop, operate, govern and secure these networks. The IBM Blockchain Platform is available via the IBM Cloud.

The platform builds off of the successful blockchain work IBM has delivered to more than 400 organizations, incorporating insights gained as IBM has built blockchain networks across industries including financial services, supply chain and logistics, retail, government and health care.

Extensively tested and piloted, the platform addresses a wide range of enterprise pain points, including both business and technical requirements around security, performance, collaboration and privacy that no other blockchain platform delivers today. It includes innovation developed through open source collaboration in the Hyperledger community, including the newest Hyperledger Fabric v1.0 framework and Hyperledger Composer blockchain tool, both hosted by the Linux Foundation.

The integrated platform allows multiple parties to jointly develop, govern, operate and secure blockchain networks to help enterprises accelerate blockchain adoption.

For developers, easy and flexible network tools designed to bring blockchain networks up to speed in minutes. The platform also includes the first commercial introduction of Hyperledger Composer a framework that helps developers focus on the business use case and more easily and quickly map it to the application code.

Developers can create standard business language in JavaScript and the APIs help keep development work at the business level, rather than being highly technical, making it possible for most any programmer to be a blockchain developer. Additionally, a variety of IBM Developer Journeys for blockchain are available featuring free open source code, documentation, APIs, architecture diagrams and one-click deployment Git repositories to fast-track building.

In addition to food safety, IBM is advancing other blockchain supply chain initiatives using the IBM Blockchain Platform for an automated billing and invoicing system. Initial work to use blockchain for invoicing is underway starting with Lenovo. This will provide an audit-ready solution with full traceability of billing and operational data, and help speed on-boarding time for new vendors and new contract requirements.

To complement the new platform, IBM Global Business Services offers Blockchain Services, which brings deep industry expertise from its 1,600 blockchain consultants who have helped clients deploy and integrate active networks. These consultants can apply design thinking to help enterprises conceptualize and implement blockchain enabled business models to realize optimal value.

For example, during recent blockchain projects with major shipping and retail organizations, IBM consultants have been able to improve food safety traceability by 99.9 percent and decrease trade document workflow by 97percent, potentially unlocking millions of dollars in cost savings and market capital.

Expanding the Blockchain Ecosystem Across Academia and the Start Up Community

To help meet the increasing demand for a skilled technical workforce trained in blockchain, IBM is making available a wide range of resources including software, training and professional partnerships free of charge to more than 1,000 universities in the IBM Academic Initiative. Offerings include six months of access to the IBM Cloud for use of the IBM Blockchain cloud sandbox to help students hone development skills.

IBM is also working with select universities including Baruch College/CUNY, Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and University of British Columbia to fund research grants, develop customized curricula and host workshops and hackathons. For technologists who want more in-depth guidance, IBM has refreshed its blockchain training and educational materials on developerWorks for Hyperledger Fabric 1.0.

As interest in Hyperledger Fabric continues to grow, IBM is also working with other companies such as Boldstart Ventures, to provide support and resources that broaden access. Boldstart Ventures has launched Fabric Foundry, the first accelerator dedicated to this framework, to foster adoption.

Written by turbotodd

August 22, 2017 at 8:41 am

Posted in blockchain, developers, food safety, ibm

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From Farm To Plate: Using Analytics To Make Safer Foods

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I had a friend who was recently impacted by one of those contaminated cantaloupes.

Fortunately, she only got sick and didn’t perish from listeria, but 23 others were not so fortunate, and over 100 more also became very ill.

These type of outbreaks cost $152 billion a year in the U.S. alone, with 48 million food-related illnesses and 3,000 deaths a year. Governments around the world are now proposing more stringent regulations to better protect consumers from food borne illnesses.


A breakdown at any point in the food system on the farm-to-table spectrum can cause catastrophic harm to the health of consumers and great disruption and economic loss to the food industry.

More than six billion cases of fruits and vegetables alone travel across the U.S. each year. As this food travels through various points of the supply chain there are possibilities of this food being exposed to temperatures or other factors that could lead to its contamination.

In response to this challenge, IBM today announced that Cherry Central, a leading cooperative of  hundreds of growers of fruits and vegetables in the United States, is using IBM analytics technology to provide true visibility of food items as it travels from the farm to supermarket shelves or ingredient buyers locations.

Using analytics technology, the food producer and marketer has improved productivity by 50 percent.

Eat, and Track, Your Fruits And Vegetables

To ensure the safest food products reach the shelves of grocery stores and ingredient buyer locations, Cherry Central is collaborating with IBM and business partner N2N Global.

With IBM analytics technology, Cherry Central is tracking data from the time fruit is harvested, sorted or processed, sent to a distribution warehouse, and finally unloaded and placed on display counters at a grocery store or ingredient buyer location.

All of this activity data can now be collected, viewed, aggregated and analyzed in real time, all with a few clicks of a mouse.

Additionally, workers now can use mobile devices to record key information, such as date, time, location, temperature, and all aspects of quality and food safety compliance.

The information is uploaded to a centralized database, where it is stored and can be accessed and shared by their supply chain trading partners.

Each time the food moves or is handled by someone new, the data can be updated thorough mobile devices, recorded and aggregated instantaneously to provide a complete, accurate picture within its operations.

This, in turn, minimizes unnecessary administrative tasks and data entry, allowing management to focus more on business growth than data capturing.

Cherry Central can now more precisely record incoming fruit from growers, track the food items through their operations and monitor and report on all critical control points such as  refrigeration and processing temperatures, thus improving the overall traceability and visibility of the products they handle.  These new capabilities are helping Cherry Central track food from harvest to dinner table to avoid contamination pitfalls.

“Cherry Central and its trading partners are a microcosm of the entire food supply chain.  In working IBM and N2N Global, we are taking advantage of a solution that tears down the barriers and complexity of the food supply chain,” said Steve Eiseler, vice president of operations at Cherry Central Cooperative.

“This collaboration is helping us create a well-connected and visible food supply chain to make it easier and faster to track the food items we market while also allowing us to spot trends as they’re occurring real time.  This visibility is enabling is to take proactive measures to ensure food safety and ultimately protecting the consumer.”

Paper, Plastic, Or Analytics?

One of the major challenges for Cherry Central is to provide better transparency and usability of its data that is growing at the rate of 1.6 million records per month.

Many in the food industry still use paper-based solutions that produce paper checklists and questionnaires to perform audits and inspections on their fruits and vegetables and processing/packing systems .

As paper forms are returned to the office, they are “manually” entered into the computer leaving room for human error, generating mountains of paperwork and the possibility of misplacing files — making it more difficult to pinpoint the source of a possible contamination, causing costly and potentially critical delays.

Now, with analytics technology, Cherry Central is not only capturing this data, but using analytics to create real business outcomes from it. For example, processing data can be analyzed real time and decisions can be made immediately rather than waiting hours or days until the data is compiled.

In addition, all small businesses are impacted by federal regulations and government mandates. Small businesses operating in the food industry, however, have additional layers of regulations and mandates defined by federal and state agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

The new Food Safety Modernization Act as well as industry trade association standards have added new and complex compliance demands to the landscape.

Cherry Central’s business analytics platform provides product traceability consisting of IBM DB2 Web Query running on Power System.  Its quality & food safety program runs on N2N Global’s Quality & Food Safety Manager solution running on IBM System x.

If you’d like to learn more about IBM’s Smarter Food initiatives, visit here.

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