Quality Progress - February 2018 - 10

A digest of
trends, research
& late-breaking
news

Today, it seems almost an expected
part of doing business in the food
industry: Unsafe products slip through
the cracks and arrive at restaurants and
supermarkets where they are available
for public consumption.
By now, tracking down the root cause
of the problem, alerting consumers and
moving unsafe food products off store
shelves or out of kitchens should be
routine and efficient, right?
Not so fast.
A report late last year from the
Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general office showed
that the federal recall process for about
80% of the nation's food is so slow it
can take up to 10 months to get unsafe
products off store shelves-even when
people are getting sick.1
To speed up the tracing of unsafe
food, averting long, drawn-out recalls,
and perhaps preventing the effects of
tainted food before they occur, more
players in the food industry are considering blockchain technology, also known as
distributed ledger tech-the technology
behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Many predict the burgeoning technology
is powerful enough that someday it will
"empower the entire chain to be more
responsive to any food safety disasters."2
"By implementing blockchain, the
food industry will be able to more
readily solve the problems it's currently
facing-especially issues related to transparency," wrote Judy Fainor, an IT expert
at Sparta Systems, a software company.3
"Not only are consumers demanding
to know where their food comes from,
the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is demanding supply chain transparency
via the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Blockchain makes data easily shareable

10 QP

February 2018 ❘ qualityprogress.com

FOOD SAFET Y

On the
Fast Track?
Blockchain technology has
the potential to transform
food systems, but it will take time
and permanent-increasing the credibility of the data on any food product and
reassuring customers and regulators
that the food has a detailed account of
its path through various organizations,"
Fainor wrote.4
Seeing the potential in this powerful technology as an opportunity
to revamp their data management
processes across a complex network
that includes farmers, brokers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators
and consumers, many corporations
have already jumped onboard5 and are
teaming with tech giants like IBM and
Microsoft to adapt blockchain platforms
to work in food supply systems.
Last summer, food giants Dole,
Driscoll's, Tyson and Nestlé began
collaborating with IBM to develop a
blockchain for the food supply system.
Later, Walmart, Unilever and Kroger
joined the initiative.6 Late last year, IBM,
Walmart and Chinese retailer JD.com
announced they had joined forces to
build a blockchain food safety alliance
collaboration to improve food tracking

and safety in China.7
In the case of Walmart, IBM was
able to reduce a food tracing process
from six days to about two seconds,
thanks to blockchain. "That kind of
transformation can really speed up the
decision-making process so you can
minimize the health risk from a foodborne illness," said Marie Wieck, who
runs the IBM blockchain unit.8

What is blockchain?

Essentially, blockchain technology is a
way of storing and sharing information
across a network of users in an open
virtual space. Blockchain technology
allows users to look at all transactions
simultaneously and in real time.9
At its heart, blockchain refers to a
bookkeeping method that "chains"
together entries so that they are very
difficult to modify later. It provides
a way for large groups of unrelated
companies to jointly keep a secure and
reliable record of their transactions.10
Infused in a food supply system,
blockchain technology can provide


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - February 2018

Seen and Heard
Expert Answers
Progress Report
Mr. Pareto Head
Career Coach
Office Efficiency
The Crown Jewels of Design
Open Lines
Less Is More
ASQ 2018 Six Sigma Resource Guide
Standard Issues
Six Sigma Solutions
Statistics Spotlight
Marketplace
Footnotes
Try This Today
Quality Progress - February 2018 - intro
Quality Progress - February 2018 - cover1
Quality Progress - February 2018 - cover2
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 1
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 2
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 3
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 4
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 5
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Seen and Heard
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 7
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Expert Answers
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 9
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Progress Report
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 11
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Mr. Pareto Head
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 13
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Career Coach
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 15
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Office Efficiency
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 17
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 18
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 19
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 20
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 21
Quality Progress - February 2018 - The Crown Jewels of Design
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 23
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 24
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 25
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 26
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 27
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 28
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 29
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Open Lines
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 31
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 32
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 33
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 34
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 35
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 36
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 37
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Less Is More
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 39
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 40
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 41
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 42
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 43
Quality Progress - February 2018 - ASQ 2018 Six Sigma Resource Guide
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 45
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Standard Issues
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 47
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 48
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 49
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Six Sigma Solutions
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 51
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 52
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Statistics Spotlight
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 54
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 55
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 56
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 57
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Marketplace
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 59
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Footnotes
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 61
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 62
Quality Progress - February 2018 - 63
Quality Progress - February 2018 - Try This Today
Quality Progress - February 2018 - cover3
Quality Progress - February 2018 - cover4
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