Freson Bros. offers DNA traceable meat


Freson Bros. is the first retailer to carry branded products from Sturgeon Valley Pork with labels guaranteeing that it's homegrown, hormone-free and animal byproduct-free.

Sturgeon Valley Pork products is among the first Canadian meat processors to use a genetic traceability system called DNA TraceBack and carry the logos that guarantee its meat's origins.

Freson Bros. says its market research found that 96 per cent of its customers value local Alberta products, and 73 per cent said they would favour stores that featured Alberta products.

"When we made the decision to source all of our pork from local Alberta farms, we wanted DNA traceability to give assurances to our customers," said Doug Lovsin, vice-president of operations at Freson Bros a Calgary Herald report. "The DNA Traceback seal is on the package for the consumer to see."

Sturgeon Valley started using the genetic fingerprinting system in 2009; meanwhile it has been in use in Europe since 2000.

"For the consumer, it's basically a verification system that backs up claims," said Dan Majeau, one of the principals at Sturgeon Valley Pork, in the Calgary Herald.

DNA TraceBack developed by an Ireland-based company called Iden-tiGEN takes DNA samples from Sturgeon Valley hogs at the federally inspected processing plant and randomly at the retailer.

Samples are then sent to IdentiGEN's U.S. laboratory in Lawrence, Kan., to verify the product's origins and the process enables retailer to trace that back to the producer and day of slaughter and back to the farm.

Majeau beliees that DNA verification will become more common in Canada as consumers are increasingly demanding to know where their food comes from. The accuracy of the system is about 99.8 per cent.

In the future, Sturgeon Valley could even identify farms of origin as well as improve meat quality by allowing genetic selection.

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