Canadian Packaging

Walmart teams with IBM

By Canadian Packaging staff   

Design & Innovation Food Safety General blockchain product tracing Hyperledger Project IBM Tsinghua University Walmart

Partnership to pilot test supply chain traceability of pork from China.

China’s reputation in food safety isn’t a good one, to put it simply, especially after a 2008 scandal involving milk and infant formula containing the toxic chemical melamine that killed six children and made hundreds of thousands ill.

In 2015 China did a major revamp of its food safety regulations to ensure better record-keeping, greater supervision, and much stricter health guidelines would be ensured.

Walmart and IBM have teamed up with Tsinghua University of Beijing, China to pilot a supply chain project to digitally track the movement of pork in China via a blockchain aka distributed ledger.

Using technology developed by the Hyperledger Project—an open-source project that constructs blockchain tools, and a private database developed by IBM, Walmart hopes to show itself and its customers just how meat—in this case, specifically pork—travels from producers to processors to distributors to grocers and to the customer.


The project is seen by Walmart as something better than other projects that relied solely on RFID (radio frequency identification) tags or barcodes, as it is much more difficult to break into a blockchain to commit fraud.

According to Walmart, the supply-chain information is stored on the blockchain, and will include details such as: farm origins; factory data; expiration data; storage temperatures; and shipping.

The idea is to bring better transparency to the customer of where food comes from.

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