Technology giant IBM, retailer Walmart and Beijing's Tsinghua University have joined forces to track the journey of China's pork from farm to store. Data regarding its progress from farm to abattoir to processor to shipping will be recorded, answering the problem of paper records frequently subject to fraud.
The technology is being developed by the Hyperledger project, a collaboration funded by the Linux Foundation to advance cross-industry blockchain applications.
The pilot project was announced at the opening of the new Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Centre in Beijing on 19 October.
Food safety is a major challenge in China. Low trust in the industry follows many serious health incidents in which misinformation was given as to the origin, age and identity of food products.
This collaboration demonstrates the rapidly developing potential of blockchain technologies to address system-wide challenges, and particularly its importance for traceability.
Blockchain enables accurate and secure records to be shared across large networks, with each record verified by multiple sources, offering a 'proof' of existence beyond the stamp of any single body.