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Tapping into the power of DNA for meat traceability

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There are many big challenges facing the food and agribusiness industries globally. One of these challenges is combatting food fraud and adulteration. Fraud costs the global industry billions of dollars annually, which is not only a huge financial cost, but also a reputational one. A second major challenge is assuring customers of product quality, given the increasing global demand for transparency.

Eurofins Genomics can now offer a newly developed service, based on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), that is able to trace meat throughout the supply chain with the highest precision possible. This technology is therefore able to improve end to end supply chain visibility.

NGS, also known as high-throughput sequencing, is DNA sequencing technology that allows for the analysis of samples and systems at a level that was not possible before. NGS machines can sequence large sample numbers more cost-effectively than traditional methods and, in the process, also generate more detailed genomic information.

DNA is present in each single cell and is unique to each individual. It also is highly stable against various processes and is therefore present throughout the whole beef supply chain. Due to these reasons, using DNA provides indisputable evidence of traceability. Furthermore, DNA analysis provides a rapid, secure and cost-effective method of identification.

Eurofins Genomics’ new offering, DNA SourceTracker, takes samples from each individual animal and generates a DNA profile which is unique for each animal sample. These profiles are then stored in a customised database which facilitates sample comparison throughout the supply chain. You can see this process flow illustrated in the image below:


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From an industry perspective, there are significant advantages to being able to identify the individual source of meat products. Producers of premium meat products can use such technology to assure their retailers, distributors and end consumers of their product’s origin. More generally, such technology will enable the food industry to eliminate meat fraud and adulteration throughout global supply chains, thereby protecting food brands and safeguarding consumer loyalty.      

DNA SourceTracker can trace every single meat product available throughout the supply chain back to an individual animal. Eurofins Genomics sees a growing market trend of using genomics-based testing to determine food authenticity, traceability and safety. DNA SourceTracker uses NGS to offer traceability per sample within a faster turnaround time and with a higher resolution than ever before.

“This highly scalable and novel technique proves our commitment to developing innovative technologies that increase transparency and quality for end consumers” ​comments Dr. Michael Hadem, Managing Director of Eurofins Genomics Europe.

Combating fraud and false claims​    

DNA, unique to each individual animal, ensures that customers and partners along a supply chain can finally completely trust the source of their meat. It protects the farmers, exporters, importers, retailers, and end consumers from the ever-existing issue of fraud.

Furthermore, should a marker or packaging label be lost and a dispute arises as to the origin of that meat, DNA could be used as the indisputable evidence.

Increasing consumer trust and loyalty​    

Consumer trust and loyalty is an increasingly challenging issue for businesses worldwide. Our full farm to plate solution is able to place back that trust into the ever complex supply chains, and assure customers that the products they are buying adhere to food safety, ethical, environmental and cultural practices. It is simply no longer enough to place a label on a package stating that products are sustainably produced – consumers want to know exactly how products are made and where they come from.

Important disclaimer:

This press release contains forward-looking statements and estimates that involve risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements and estimates contained herein represent the judgment of Eurofins Scientific’s management as of the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees for future performance, and the forward-looking events discussed in this release may not occur. Eurofins Scientific disclaims any intent or obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements and estimates. All statements and estimates are made based on the information available to the Company’s management as of the date of publication, but no guarantee can be made as to their validity.