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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Meat transparency: The answer could be in the DNA

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Transparency is well-known to patrons. Folks increasingly deserve to clutch the place their meals comes from and the scheme it used to be produced.

This tell is terribly acceptable to the meat sector the place animal welfare, properly being and environmental considerations are in the spotlight.

According to the 2020 Energy of Meat look, printed by the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Study, constructing have faith is most critical to rising sector sales. That is terribly upright for shoppers ‘having a watch to nick their meat / poultry intake which skill that of animal welfare, environmental or properly being considerations’, the paper steered.

Shopping for the system to tell on this need, Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn grew to grow to be to DNA making an are trying out in its witness for a good solution to underpin its dedication to quality, sustainability and welfare in its meat provide.

As a signatory of the 2026 European Hen Dedication, training improved welfare requirements, Albert Heijn grew to grow to be the predominant retailer worldwide to ascertain its pledge to use handiest dumb boost breeds with DNA verification.

Albert Heijn, share of the Ahold team, worked with DNA experts at IdentiGEN and its rooster seller, Plukon, to invent a ‘smooth system of making an are trying out’ that ‘precisely and precisely’ confirms the use of accredited rooster genetics.

Gradual boost rooster is a touchpaper pain for heaps of Dutch patrons following years of intensive campaigning from NGOs admire Wakker Dier in the nation. For Albert Heijn, it used to be additionally most critical to leverage ‘scientific files’ to expose enhancements in animal welfare and properly being for dumb boost breeds, we had been told.

“Food security, quality, sustainability and product integrity are points which own played a vital aim for governments and patrons recently,”​ Emiel Beekwilder explained.

GettyImages-nastya_ph chicken

Gradual boost rooster is a vital pain for Dutch patrons / Pic: GettyImages-nastya_ph

‘The epic must match the label’

For Albert Heijn, product integrity is ‘most critical’, especially when it involves claims linked to animal welfare. The user can which skill that of this truth query increased effort to dispute authenticity. That is the place IdentiGEN is accessible in.

IdentiGEN’s DNA TraceBack ‘fork-to-farm’ expertise cuts thru the complexity of the protein provide chain to precisely hint a product support to the actual person or parent animal and farm the usage of DNA.

Albert Heijn makes use of TraceBack for merchandise made to its own animal welfare customary, no longer third-social gathering licensed animal welfare merchandise (hallmarked by the Dutch SPA, Beter Leven Keurmerk; BLK 1,2,3 stars).

What started as a draw to make certain chickens on sale had been dumb boost birds has been prolonged to incorporate purple meat and, more no longer too long ago, pork merchandise.

Performed rooster merchandise are sampled at store diploma and are evaluated in opposition to accredited rooster genetics, to verify the correct raw cloth is outdated at some level of processing. The machine for pork and purple meat works a little bit in every other case.

GettyImages-Chris Strickland - angus beef cow

DNA traceability has been prolonged to purple meat / Pic: GettyImages-Chris Strickland

The Greenfields Angus purple meat and the Beter Leven one-superstar pork from Albert Heijn must get from accredited closed provide chains the usage of handiest farms complying with agreed specification parameters.

IdentiGEN, which has been providing DNA-based alternate choices to the meals substitute since 1996, established a DNA reference database of the contributing animals which is mechanically validated. 

For Albert Heijn Beter Leven one-superstar pork merchandise, a validated sow database used to be developed containing DNA profiles of all sows active within this closed provide chain. Likewise, IdentiGEN is able to scientifically test the Angus breed and Irish origin tell linked to Albert Heijn’s Greenfields Angus purple meat.

Performed merchandise, including additional processed and cooked merchandise, are sampled at store diploma. The DNA TraceBack platform permits detailed prognosis of the DNA and producer files to join the relevant Albert Heijn merchandise to its provide.

“The epic in the support of a product must match the label. Which skill that of DNA verification, we can display conceal this,”​ Beekwilder notorious.

“We own no longer but communicated the programs to the patrons. However, after I talk in regards to the DNA TraceBack program to colleagues, family, and pals, they’re consistently impressed. So, I deem patrons will react the identical system when we expose the DNA TraceBack program to them.​”

DNA: As ‘undeniably moving as a pure barcode’

According to IdentiGEN, which additionally works with retailers admire Marks and Spencer in the UK, TraceBack is regarded because the ‘most respectable solution’ in the marketplace this day.

GettyImages-Bombaert meat counter

The complex nature of the meat provide chain makes it ‘nearly not likely’ for customary traceability alternate choices to hint support to farm, IdentiGEN says / Pic: GettyImages-Bombaert

It’s ‘nearly not likely’ for customary traceability alternate choices to hint proteins support to the availability farm after they’re disassembled, co-mingled and transformed at the scale required by substitute.  Batch spin and scale dispute various challenges in reaching correct and steady traceability support to the farm of origin. DNA is as ‘undeniably moving as a pure barcode’, we had been told.

“The utility of DNA TraceBack brings an additional diploma of accountability to production practices, that are increasingly being demanded by both retailers and the user,”​ Anton Hofland, IdentiGEN Benelux, told FoodNavigator.

Hofland characterised Albert Heijn as a forward-having a watch retailer in its adoption of DNA making an are trying out for farm-to-fork traceability. 

“Albert Heijn has a revolutionary mentality and is superior in the system that it ensures transparency within three various meat proteins,”​ Hofland observed.

However while Albert Heijn would possibly well presumably be before the curve as an early adopter, IdentiGEN printed it is far seeing rising query for technologies admire this out there, seriously in light of meals scares and the disruptive impact of COVID-19.

The company sees three most critical drivers supporting the cross in the direction of corpulent transparency: Quality and pain mitigation; the rise of native and expectations around origin transparency; and tech catalysts that would possibly well serve tell have faith both on-line and in-store.

“As shoppers enter a ‘smooth standard’ system of residing imposed by COVID-19 restrictions, they increasingly witness affirmation of meals authenticity– from farm to fork – to serve expose and validate their private meals choices as they shop both on-line and in store.

“With DNA TraceBack, retailers can scientifically test marketing messages and product claims to serve dispute tales with self assurance, constructing loyalty, differentiation, and have faith in a highly aggressive and increasingly complex marketplace.”

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