Cargill Inc. is expanding a program that lets consumers trace the origin of their Thanksgiving turkey back to the farmer that raised it.
The Star Tribune reports on the push by the Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant, which tested the traceable-turkey technology last year in Texas. It went over so well that Cargill will roll out the program in 30 states this year, including Minnesota.
The technology is built around blockchain, a way of encrypting and storing data that makes it hard to corrupt or change, so it's a great way of recording transaction histories. It's the same technology behind bitcoin, but has applications that are potentially much broader. MIT Technology Review likens it to the invention of double-entry bookkeeping in 14th century Italy.
The primary value to the food industry is letting producers trace sourcing in the event of contamination. But there's a marketing angle, too, especially when consumers are demanding more information about where their food comes from.