A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain has 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 Co, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart. They will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.

Every year, one in 10 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.

Blockchain is suited to help address these challenges because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions. In the global food supply chain, all participants—growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers—can gain 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 quickly to ensure safe removal from store shelves and stem the spread of illnesses.

The consortium is coming together with IBM to further champion blockchain as an enabling technology for the food sector. Together they will help identify and prioritize new areas where blockchain can benefit food ecosystems and inform new IBM solutions.

To accelerate this process, 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.

Extensively tested and piloted, the platform addresses a range of enterprise pain points, including both business and technical requirements around security, performance, collaboration and privacy. 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 more information, see www.ibm.com/blockchain/.