RICHMOND, Va. – Foodservice distributor Performance Food Group (PFG) provided details about the company’s efforts to establish a DNA traceback program for its Braveheart brand of Black Angus beef.

The company said the traceback program, called PathProven, took 10 years to develop with technology provided by IdentiGEN, a leading provider of DNA identification solutions. The PathProven system ensures that Braveheart beef products are traceable, auditable, and meet a specific set of farming and processing criteria established and controlled by PFG.

Fresh meat produced in the PathProven system is the fastest-growing segment of PFG’s protein program, the company noted, with Braveheart beef the company’s fastest-growing brand.

“Working with our partners at IdentiGEN, and throughout the supply chain has allowed us to build the largest Beef Program in the US that can link the steak on a plate to the specific animal and source,” said Steve Sands, vice president of Protein at PFG. “When we first began implementing this technology we were focused on where the animal came from and specific traits to ensure optimal eating quality. Now we are using this data to provide feedback to our ranchers and other stakeholders to improve animal welfare and efficiencies.”

DNA samples — on the same day of kill — are immediately sent to IdentiGEN which operates laboratories in Ireland, the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. “With the PathProven system, and PFG sharing information back with the farm,” Sands said, “we are moving toward a more accessible information system for all consumers to know what they are buying.”

In March, Tyson Fresh Meats, a unit of Tyson Foods, announced plans to use DNA traceback technology provided by IdentiGEN for beef entering the company’s Open Prairie Natural Angus Beef program.