USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has approved IdentiGEN’s DNA TraceBack system, a proprietary meat identification and traceability system based on DNA analysis, as meeting its Process Verified Program requirements. The DNA TraceBack system lets retailers, meat producers, meat processors and foodservice outlets provide more information about where and how meat is produced.
IdentiGEN provides DNA-based identification and verification solutions for food safety issues, according to company officials, "it builds consumer confidence in the food and agriculture industries." DNA TraceBack uses DNA identification technology -- in a manner akin to that used for forensic investigations -- to identify and trace the source of meat products through the entire supply chain.
The DNA TraceBack system uses technology to create large numbers of unique DNA profiles at a cost of pennies per pound. Its implementation requires few modifications to current handling and processing procedures for fresh beef and pork.
“Considering that DNA TraceBack is just being introduced in the North American market, designation as a PVP is a significant milestone for IdentiGEN,” says Donald Marvin, president of IdentiGEN North America. “This vote of confidence from the USDA in our DNA TraceBack system will help gain acceptance of the program among grocery retailers, and ultimately, consumers.”
The PVP approval came after an extensive USDA review and on-site audit of IdentiGEN’s documented quality-management system. PVP designation signifies that USDA has verified IdentiGEN’s system as a consistently reliable program.
USDA's PVP is based on the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9000 series standards for documented quality management systems. There are currently 36 approved USDA Process Verified Programs. Additional information can be found at http://processverified.usda.gov/.
Last May, IdentiGEN established its North American headquarters and high-technology laboratory for DNA analysis in Lawrence, Kan. “We intend to make IdentiGEN a global company of consequence, and USDA's approval of our DNA TraceBack system marks a significant accomplishment towards this goal,” says Patrick Cunningham, chairman of IdentiGEN Ltd. DNA TraceBack can also be a major competitive positioning and risk-management tool for retailers, because it supports seamless and fast traceability in the event of a product recall, he adds