Wal-Mart tackles food safety with test of blockchain

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Wal-Mart is testing a new database technology that could help it monitor the food it sells and take action when something goes wrong.

If you shop at Wal-Mart, you might be buying packaged produce unlike any ever sold in a U.S. store.

The sliced apples or cut broccoli — the merchant won’t say which food’s involved exactly — are being used to test blockchain, a new database technology. If successful, the trial could change how Wal-Mart Stores, which serves some 260 million customers a week, monitors food and takes action when something goes wrong. That could spur big leaps in food safety, cut costs and save lives.

Like most merchants, the world’s largest retailer struggles to identify and remove food that’s been recalled. When a customer becomes ill, it can take days to identify the product, shipment and vendor. With the blockchain, Wal-Mart will be able to obtain…

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