Blockchain is the technology and approach that allows people to share a database, which is duplicated across a network of many, many, many computers and other devices. This is different from a traditional database that is situated in one central location, owned by one person or organization, and thus more readily hacked or corrupted.
Instead, everyone across the network can contribute information to this database without losing ownership of this information and at the same time benefit from all of the information in the database.
So, what then would blockchain have to do with food safety? Initiatives such as the IBM Food Trust are trying to use blockchain to help improve food safety, which has been a particularly prominent problem this year. Since public health officials were not initially able to determine the specific sources of the contamination of the Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak -associated with Romaine lettuce-, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began by warning you to avoid all Romaine lettuce.
According to forbes.com¸ public health officials have now scaled back their Romaine lettuce warnings and are now focusing on Romaine lettuce from California. These 2 outbreaks are part of the worst year for reported multi-state food-borne infectious disease outbreaks in recent memory, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) lists.