Tyson Foods Begins DNA Testing Beef to Prove Genetics

A traceability program is being started by Tyson Foods, Inc. that will use DNA to trace beef pack to the individual animal while proving its genetics. Tyson announced on March 14 it is partnering with IdentiGEN to use the system DNA TraceBack to identify cattle raised through Tyson’s Open Prairie Natural Angus Beef brand.

DNA samples from cattle entering the Open Prairie program will be utilized to trace the origin of individual cuts of beef as they move through the supply chain. The program will help assure consumers that beef is sourced from ranches that meet specific requirements, such as no antibiotics ever and no added hormones.

“This is about meeting growing demand for more transparency about how food is produced,” says 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.”

Cattle that are currently in the program are raised by independent ranchers, mostly from Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Nebraska. Beef is processed at Tyson Fresh Meats’ plant in Lexington, Neb.

“We’re excited to partner with an industry leader like Tyson Fresh Meats,” Kent Partida, vice president of North American business development for IdentiGEN, says. “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.”