Loblaw beefs up DNA TraceBack

Unveils DNA-Traceable beef In 77 stores across Western Canada

Loblaw Companies Limited has expanded its use of IdentiGEN Canada’s DNA-based traceability process, DNA TraceBack, to assure the quality and traceability of its cut from Canada AAA western beef.

The product is being launched in 77 Real Canadian Superstore locations throughout B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is sourced from family farmers in Western Canada’s so-called cattle country, which houses an estimated 68,000 beef farms accounting for approximately 85% of the country’s beef production.

Sal Baio, senior vice-president of Loblaws, said in a release that DNA TraceBack enables the supermarket chain to assure customers that the beef is sourced and raised according to the company’s “strict protocols,” while simultaneously capturing data that can be used to drive quality improvement.

Loblaws had previously entered into an agreement with IdentiGEN in May 2013 to use its DNA TraceBack product to assure quality control for its Ontario Corn Fed Beef program.

Animals in the DNA TraceBack program are swabbed for DNA when slaughtered, creating a distinctive code that identifies each animal and the products produced from it.

Swabs are also taken from finished products after they are processed into cuts, ensuring that they can be matched to the animal of origin to verify that only the meat from these animals is sold under the intended program. The accuracy of the system has been pegged at 99.8%.

In 2011, Sturgeon Valley Pork became one of the first Canadian processors to use the DNA TraceBack system. Its products, bearing the DNA TraceBack logo, were sold by Alberta-based chain Freson Bros.

First introduced in 2000, DNA TraceBack is used in multiple markets around the world. British retailer Marks & Spencer uses it to verify its top-tier Aberdeen Angus beef, while the SuperValu chain uses it to ensure that all of its bacon is 100% Irish.

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