Albertsons is the latest retailer to join IBM Food Trust, which uses blockchain technology for traceability. ( Albertsons )

Albertsons is joining the IBM Food Trust network, which uses blockchain for traceability, and will be testing the technology first with romaine.

The company plans to pilot blockchain for tracing bulk romaine from one of its distribution centers, according to a news release. Albertsons expects the pilot to help it understand and address some of the issues that have hindered romaine traceback during recent foodborne illness outbreaks.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to be transformational for us as we further build differentiation on our fresh brand,” Anuj Dhanda, chief information officer for Albertsons, said in the release. “Food safety is a very significant step. In addition, the provenance of the products enabled by blockchain — the ability to track every move from the farm to the customer’s basket — can be very empowering for our customers.”

Walmart, Kroger, Carrefour, Wakefern and Topco are among other retailers that have joined IBM Food Trust.

“Multiple high-profile consumer advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration demonstrate the need to find more efficient ways of tracing products and identifying likely sources of contamination in a timely manner,” Jerry Noland, vice president of food safety and quality assurance for Albertsons, said in the release. “Consequently, retailers are exploring new technologies to improve the infrastructure that underpins the global food supply chain.”


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