Walmart to Use Blockchain to Track Lettuce

Walmart will require lettuce and spinach suppliers to contribute to a blockchain database to pinpoint contamination.

The New York Times reports Walmart’s Veggie-Tracking B.L.T.: Blockchain Lettuce Technology.

When dozens of people across the country got sick from eating contaminated romaine lettuce this spring, Walmart did what many grocers would do: It cleared every shred off its shelves, just to be safe.

Walmart says it now has a better system for pinpointing which batches of leafy green vegetables might be contaminated. After a two-year pilot project, the retailer announced on Monday that it would be using a blockchain, the type of database technology behind Bitcoin, to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce.

By this time next year, more than 100 farms that supply Walmart with leafy green vegetables will be required to input detailed information about their food into a blockchain database developed by I.B.M. for Walmart and several other retailers exploring similar moves.

The blockchains being tested by companies, including the version adopted by Walmart, generally have nothing to do with Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency — they are entirely new databases with no coins involved. And unlike the Bitcoin blockchain, which can be viewed by anyone, only certain people will be able to view and access the Walmart database.

The system that Walmart is using, IBM Food Trust, has been developed for consumer companies, including Dole, Wegmans and Unilever, to track products moving through the supply chain.

Not a Publicity Stunt

Some think this is a publicity stunt. Unlike Kodak's ridiculous endeavor to sell mining machines, I don't.

Blockchain will ultimately have many uses. I's perfect for recording high-value, low-volume transactions like mortgages and auto loans.

Blockchain will not scale as a means of recording every sales transaction in the world.Even if I am wrong about that, there is no reason to believe Bitcoin itself will survive.

I read time and time again that it was "impossible" to separate blockchain from cryptos.

Excuse me, but it just happened.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (14)
No. 1-6

Seems like overkill to me. What does blockchain provide that simple rows in a database don't?

Michael J
Michael J

"Blockchain will not scale as a means of recording every sales transaction in the world."

Blockchain does not need to scale as a means of recording every sales transaction. It can scale to process every transaction in the world by only recording the settling of balances. You should really do your due diligence and learn about the underlying technology before you make yourself look foolish with statements like this.


Along with KidHorn here, I'm not sure of the value proposition. I can put into the blockchain that I sold 1000 bushels of spinach as "Batch A" from my farm to Global Veggie Conglomerate, Inc.(GVCI) But that doesn't preclude GVCI from mixing a thousand different batches together and updating the blockchain inappropriately. There's really not enough data here to know.

My favorite use of blockchain conceptually: property title records. Anything unique could be recorded.


More on Avenatti/Kavanaugh - Avenatti has locked his Twitter account and there are rumours that he was pranked by 4chan about the 2nd accuser.


Walmart is only interested in eliminating Walmart's liability. Food contamination needs to be checked at points in the process but it's impossible to eliminate 100%