Grocery giants Walmart and Sam's Club are requiring their lettuce suppliers to get into blockchain technology. Those providing leafy greens to the grocery chains will need to upload data about their foods to blockchain within a year, the companies announced to its suppliers Monday.
The companies highlighted an E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that recently affected more than 200 people and salmonella in products such as eggs and breakfast cereal. Using blockchain and storing the information digitally, a supplier could theoretically see which farms are infected and quickly stop the supply to restaurants and consumers.
"Walmart believes the current one-step up and one-step back model of food traceability is outdated for the 21st Century and that by, working together, we can do better," Walmart said in its letter. "There is no question that there is a strong public-health and business-case for enhanced food traceability."
With blockchain, all fresh leafy greens suppliers are expected to be able to trace their products back to farms "in seconds, not days," Walmart said in a letter to suppliers. Direct suppliers will be required to conform to Walmart's standards and "enable end-to-end traceability" back to farms by September 30, 2019, the company said.