Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart, became a believer in the benefits of blockchain technology when his corporate team reduced the time it took to trace a package of sliced mangoes from more than six days to 2.2 seconds. He’s now sharing his blockchain message with the broader food industry and will address IDFA members in an upcoming webinar as part of the association’s new Knowledge Center.

“If you think about the food system, it’s pretty complex,” said Yiannas, who is also a past president of the International Association for Food Protection, “The way traceability is done today, each segment of the food system does it their own way. Most actually do it on paper or on systems that don’t speak to each other, so you can never have a full view of what’s happening in the food system.

“What we hope to do with blockchain is bring all food safety system stakeholders and collaborate so that we do it one best way. We can do it very quickly and efficiently,” he said.

Blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions that some companies are using to track everything from financial transactions to food production. To help dairy foods companies understand the blockchain technology and learn the consumer, production and profitability benefits of applying its principles, IDFA is hosting a complimentary webinar, “Blockchain: Tracking the Future,” with Yiannas on August 7, 3-4 p.m. Eastern time. Register for “Blockchain: Tracking the Future” here.

A Blockchain Pioneer

Yiannas is known in the food industry as a pioneer in the use of blockchain technology to create a more digital and transparent food system. During the webinar, he’ll discuss blockchain applications that will help to increase transparency for customers, while boosting efficiency for companies and enhancing food safety efforts at every level.

Yiannas oversees all food safety, as well as other public health functions, at Walmart, which serves more than 240 million global customers every week. Prior to joining Walmart in 2008, Yiannas was the director of safety and health for the Walt Disney World Company, where he worked for 19 years. He also is an adjunct professor in the Food Safety Program at Michigan State University and author of three books: “Food Safety Culture,” “Creating a Behavior-based Food Safety Management System” and “Food Safety = Behavior, 30 Proven Techniques to Enhance Employee Compliance.”

For a preview of his thoughts on blockchain, view this three-minute video, “Walmart's food safety solution using IBM Food Trust built on the IBM Blockchain Platform.”

IDFA is offering the webinar as a part of its new Knowledge Center, a members-only resource to provide dairy executives and professionals with business intelligence and best practices that are relevant to the dairy industry. Visit IDFA’s Knowledge Center here.

For more information about the Knowledge Center, contact Tom Wojno, IDFA senior vice president of innovation and member advancement, at

For details about the webinar, contact Melissa Lembke, IDFA director of programs and partnerships, at