Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., is collaborating with IdentiGEN to use DNA technology to trace beef back to the individual animal of origin. IdentiGEN’s signature DNA TraceBack system will be a key tool to trace the cattle raised for Tyson’s Open Prairie Natural Angus Beef.
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. The DNA TraceBack process is intended to assure customers that the Open Prairie beef products they buy were sourced from ranches where the cattle were raised to meet specific requirements, such as no antibiotics used ever 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.”
Kent Partida, vice president of North American business development for IdentiGEN, said, “We’re excited to partner with an industry leader like Tyson Fresh Meats. Our DNA TraceBack program is the most advanced meat traceability system available and uses nature’s bar code 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.”
The Open Prairie brand is continually expanding to meet growing demand for the natural beef line. In addition to no antibiotics or added hormones, the product specifications – which are third-party verified – include no artificial ingredients, 100% vegetarian diet, traceability to the birth ranch, Angus beef, U.S. Department of Agriculture Prime and Choice grades and rigorous animal welfare standards.
Cattle for the program are raised by independent ranchers, mostly from Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Nebraska. The beef is produced by the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Lexington, Nebraska.