Thanks To Blockchain, You Can See What Your Thanksgiving Turkey Looked Like As A Child

inside the IFC show Portlandia, characters played by Fred Armisen along with Carrie Brownstein are so concerned about the early life of the chicken they are ordering in a restaurant which they insist on going to visit the farm where the bird was raised — even after their server shows them a picture of him along with says reassuringly, “His name was Colin.”

at This specific point, thanks to blockchain technology, some consumers This specific year are able to do virtually the same thing with the turkey they buy for Thanksgiving dinner. In a pilot program via Cargill, birds raised on certain farms are being sold using a tracking code on their package. The buyer can enter the code online to see information about the farm the idea came via, pictures, along with even a message via the farmer who raised the turkey.

While the program, which applies to a limited number of Cargill’s Honeysuckle White turkeys, is usually clearly an entertaining novelty for consumers, the idea is usually, more significantly, a way for the turkey company to track its birds along with be able to pinpoint them inside the event which food safety or various other issues arise. The technology behind the program — blockchain — is usually the same one which underpins the digital currency bitcoin along with its variants.

Food manufacturers see blockchain as an efficient way to track fruits, vegetables, along with even turkeys via farm to truck to supermarket to table, ideally adding a layer of safety along with accountability to the food supply chain.

“Blockchain is usually one of those technologies which will disrupt in a lot of ways,” Deb Bauler, Cargill Protein’s chief information officer, told BuzzFeed News. “There are things which are compelling about the idea in food: the idea’s secure, distributed, along with irrefutable; there’s a lot inside the idea which made sense to play with inside the food space.”

Starting in early November, Cargill, the privately held Minnesota agricultural giant, began selling blockchain-tracked turkeys in select supermarkets — primarily Albertson’s, Kroger, along with Walmart — in 18 states, mainly inside the South along with Midwest. People can go online to find out where they are sold.

While Bauler said which blockchain technology could be used inside the future by Cargill to help accelerate recalls, she said the focus at This specific point was on communicating with consumers. “We’re trying to tell our story about farmer along with food you eat. This specific is usually easier than RFID tags,” she said.

For Darrell Glaser, a contract farmer for Cargill who has been raising turkeys since 1994 outside Rogers, Texas, the blockchain project is usually a way to show consumers who buy Honeysuckle Whites just what he does.

“We’ve always tried to be involved with consumers in our farming operation,” Glaser told BuzzFeed News. “There’s a disconnect between where products are produced along with the consumer.”

Glaser said he hoped the Cargill project might “add confidence to the consumer” along with let people see “where their birds are coming via, along with get them a little more knowledge about how we do things along with why.”

Cargill is usually in not bad company. In August, IBM announced which the idea was introducing a blockchain project along with major food companies like Dole, Walmart, Tyson, Nestlé, along with Kroger to address food safety issues, ideally to be able to pinpoint the source of any bad food which makes the idea into the marketplace.

“the idea’s a bit of a big-data problem,” Brigid McDermott, IBM’s vice president of blockchain business development, told BuzzFeed News. “You want a complete view of all the foods which are out there.”

A grocery chain like Kroger, for example, might want a view of all its suppliers when trying to locate the source of some bad chicken or lettuce. “You want a system which can look across different suppliers along with retailers along with so you can triangulate exactly the source of the food,” McDermott said.

A more comprehensive view of the total supply chain might allow for more targeted responses when food-related illnesses or contaminations are discovered, McDermott said. “Nobody wants a recall where you say, ‘Don’t eat any hummus,’ along with nobody eats hummus for six months after. the idea might be much better if a retailer called you on the phone along with said, ‘You bought bad hummus.'”

IBM points to the 400,000 people a year who are killed by food-borne illnesses along with to the billions of dollars which can be lost when companies initiate broad recalls — which is usually particularly irksome when only one producer is usually shipping out bad food.

“There’s a cost to the business of doing recalls of foods which are perfectly fine, nevertheless you don’t know until the idea’s too late,” McDermott said. “Something like which can decimate an entire industry.”

While the project is usually still in development, IBM has done some work on a very specific product: mangoes.

As part of a test, McDermott said, a Walmart food safety executive asked his employees to figure out where a package of sliced mangoes came via. the idea took them almost seven days to identify the supplier, because they didn’t immediately know all the steps which the mangoes took to get to the store, such as where they were processed or put into cold storage.

By contrast, using IBM’s blockchain technology, McDermott said, they were able to figure out the path the mangoes took to the store in 2.2 seconds.

“The food traceability issue is usually a big problem which we thought blockchain was particularly well suited to,” McDermott said.

Matthew Zeitlin is usually a business reporter for BuzzFeed News along with is usually based in brand new York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street along with big banks.

Contact Matthew Zeitlin at matt.zeitlin@buzzfeed.com.

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