An E.coli outbreak in the United States linked to Romain lettuce has led the Food and drug administration (FDA) body, to consider better track and trace methods which will involve blockchain technology.
Dr. Scott Lieb, the FDA commissioner announced that the federal agency had hired the vice president of food and safety at Wal-Mart, Frank Yiannas, to fill the role of the food and veterinary medicine deputy commissioner.
As part of his new duties, Yiannas is expected to introduce new track and trace tools to the agency. While announcing Frank’s arrival, Gottlieb said, “We have a guy starting, the former head of food safety at Wal-Mart who is going to be coming to the FDA to help us put in place among other things better track and trace using tools like blockchain maybe to even do track-and-trace on the food supply chain,”
Gottlieb’s assertion is, whenever there is a food outbreak, technologies such as blockchain will assist in the tracing of the cause to a specific distributor, grower or farm in the supply chain. This measure will prevent blanket warnings or actions being taken against all in the supply chain-even those who are innocent.
Yiannas had previously deployed blockchain technology at Wal-Mart with great success. The technology was a great help when it came to tracking leafy greens. While announcing the initiative, Wal-Mart noted that several states in the United States had suffered from E-coli outbreaks linked to Romain lettuce which had resulted in 19 hospitalizations and 5 fatalities.
Tracking of leafy greens using blockchain technology will enable customers to track a bag of greens and know with certainty where it came from. This way in case of any problem, one can easily point out where the problem originated from.