Tesco strikes a new deal for traceability

Tesco in Ireland has just announced a deal with DNA company IdentiGEN Ltd to check the traceability, quality and safety of its beef products, with IdentiGEN's DNA TraceBack tracking system.

Liam Forsyth, Tesco Ireland's meat buyer, said: "DNA-based traceability provides an added level to the quality assurance our customers have come to expect from Tesco, guaranteeing the origin of all of the beef they buy in our Irish stores, while underpinning the claims of the premium products we sell. With IdentiGEN's DNA TraceBack system we can identify and trace the origin of beef from all of our suppliers to our customers, using a system that is based on innovative science, so it is accurate, reliable and cost-effective for us to use."

The DNA TraceBack system is based on DNA samples taken from each animal, similar to the use of DNA for forensic identification of humans, as an identifier. DNA is unique, accurate, permanent and tamper-proof. At the retailer, verification samples are systematically taken from meat cuts, including minced beef, and compared with the DNA from source animals to verify product origin and ultimately production history. The company's technology, which was designed by researchers from Trinity College in Dublin, enables identification of products at every stage of the supply chain.

Ronan Loftus, IdentiGEN's director of commercial develop-ment, said: "The agreement

allows us to extend our services to a larger segment of shoppers in Ireland through Tesco's extensive chain of supermarkets. We are especially pleased to note that Tesco will be using IdentiGEN's DNA TraceBack brand on their private-label beef to communicate the important claims they make to consumers. Given the value of Tesco's private-label brands, their desire to co-brand underscores the value they place on DNA TraceBack's customer assurance."