Performance Food Group First in U.S. to Use DNA-based Meat Traceability System for Hamburger

Richmond, Va., and Lawrence, Kan., (Nov. 30, 2011) - Performance Food Group (also known as PERFORMANCE Foodservice) one of the nation’s largest foodservice distributors, and Kansas-based IdentiGEN, a leader in meat traceability systems, have developed the first commercial solution to trace ground meat back to its origins using DNA technology.

Thousands of U.S. restaurants from coast to coast, including Blackstone Bar and Grill (Yorkville, Ill.), Oakes Farms Market (Naples, Fla.) and DeRango The Pizza King (Kenosha, Wis.), will serve Braveheart Black Angus Burgers from Performance Food Group (PFG) that are traceable by DNA TraceBack® technology.
The collaboration marks the first time DNA TraceBack, previously used to trace cuts of meat, has been used to trace ground beef to its Black Angus origins. This deployment follows a collaborative effort, begun in January 2010, between IdentiGEN and the manufacturers of PFG’s Braveheart Black Angus Beef hamburgers.
“This is an exciting development in meat traceability systems, because it enables us for the first time to trace a batch of ground beef back to its origins,” said Steve Sands, PFG’s vice president of protein. “Our Braveheart customers demand the highest quality Angus beef that has been raised in the Midwest. DNA TraceBack is a critical tool to verify that Braveheart Black Angus ground beef is what they’re getting.”

IdentiGEN’s DNA TraceBack system captures the unique DNA of the Black Angus cattle as they move through the production chain. Robust analytical and statistical techniques are employed, making it possible for individual beef patties to be traced back to their origins with precision that is unachievable with conventional tracking systems, said Dr. Ronan Loftus, CEO of IdentiGEN North America.

“This new aspect of our PFG partnership marks the first U.S. use of DNA technology to trace ground beef back through the production chain. PFG is an innovative and progressive organization on the cutting edge of offering traceability to their customers,” Loftus noted.

PFG’s adoption of DNA TraceBack for Braveheart Black Angus Burgers follows the company’s adoption of DNA TraceBack for its steaks, roasts and other beef cuts in May 2011. PFG turned to DNA TraceBack to assure its thousands of Braveheart Black Angus restaurant customers, food service outlets and grocery retailers that all of its beef – from steaks to hamburger – comes from Angus cattle, Midwest-raised on an all-vegetarian, corn-based diet optimized for flavor and tenderness and processed under Braveheart’s standards to produce a consistent, safe and superior eating experience.