Walmart Uses New Technology to Detect Unsafe Food on Shelves

Walmart is testing out blockchain, a new database technology that can monitor packaged food before illness spreads
Flagging down tainted items before they’re bought could save a lot of headaches, legal issues, and hospital visits.

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Flagging down tainted items before they’re bought could save a lot of headaches, legal issues, and hospital visits.

Walmart is testing out technology that could change the future of how we detect foodborne illness and harmful bacteria in food. Blockchain is a database technology that monitors packaged food for unusual patterns.

Using data from a digital receipt of the product, a single customer complaint can target the source of the issue by providing crucial information such as who supplied it, how and where the food was grown, and who inspected it, according to Detroit News.

“It gives them an ability to have an accounting from origin to completion,” Marshal Cohen, an analyst at researcher NPD Group Inc., told Detroit News. “If there’s an issue with an outbreak of E. coli, this gives them an ability to immediately find where it came from. That’s the difference between days and minutes.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimate 48 million people contract foodborne illnesses every year, and this technology, according to NPD Group, could cut that number down severely. It could mean the difference between seeking out a couple of cans of tainted product versus recalling every variation of the product nationwide.

If tests of blockchain are successful, then Walmart will begin using the technology in more stores. 

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