DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. – Tyson Fresh Meats, a unit of Tyson Foods Inc., will use DNA technology to trace the origin of individual cuts of beef entering the company’s Open Prairie Natural Angus Beef program.
The initiative is a collaboration between Tyson and IdentiGen, a leading provider of DNA identification solutions with laboratories in Ireland, UK, US and Canada. A DNA sample from cattle entering the Open Prairie program will be used to trace the origin of individual cuts of beef as they move through the supply chain. Tyson said the traceback capability is intended to assure customers that the Open Prairie beef products were sourced from ranches were cattle are raised according to specific requirements such as no antibiotics and no added hormones.
“This is about meeting growing demand for more transparency about how food is produced,” said Kent Harrison, vice president of marketing and premium programs at Tyson Fresh Meats. “Through DNA TraceBack, we’re providing our retail and foodservice customers with scientific evidence that they’re getting high quality, natural beef from animals raised the way we promised.”
Foyle Food Group, which has facilities in Ireland, uses the IdentiGen technology for all of its beef. The company conducts DNA tests on each carcass. At Foyle, a worker takes a swab sample as the carcass comes down the line, and the information is added to the data supplied by the AIM [Animal Identification and Movement] system — the age of the animal, sex, breed and the producer.
DNA samples — on the same day of kill — are immediately sent to IdentiGen, which operates laboratories in Ireland, UK, US and Canada. IdentiGen processes and stores the samples. Foyle’s customers with access to the IdentiGen system can, independently and without the company’s knowledge, ask for traceability on a sirloin or a mince.
“We’re excited to partner with an industry leader like Tyson Fresh Meats,” said Kent Partida, vice president of North American business development for IdentiGEN. “Our DNA TraceBack program is the most advanced meat traceability system available and uses nature’s barcode to link meat from the point of sale back to the source. It will enable retail and foodservice customers of Open Prairie beef to confidently share their traceability story with shoppers.”