Tyson Fresh Meats, the Dakota Dunes, S.D.-based beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., collaborated with IdentiGEN, Lawrence, Kan., 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 that Open Prairie beef products were sourced from ranches where the cattle was raised to 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.”

“We’re excited to partner with an industry leader like Tyson Fresh Meats,” adds 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.” 

The beef is produced by the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Lexington, Neb.