DNA test confirms Angus status

The development of a new DNA-based test to determine the authenticity of Aberdeen Angus beef (AAB) has been announced.

According to the Scotland-based Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society (AACS) the international DNA verification systems company IdentiGEN produced the test as part of a major drive to establish real AAB.

Chief executive of the AACS Ron McHattie explained that, due to a rise in demand for AAB, the society decided to commission the system as part of a “major drive to establish Certified Aberdeen Angus beef (CAAB)” for consumers and retailers.

Currently the audit trail for fresh products going to the market is paper-based, which can mean mistakes are made. McHattie said: “The sires and the cattle that come into the system are on paper only, which is open to faults, but I’m not saying faults are knowingly made.”

The need to “raise the bar” on checks within the certified programme led AACS to talk with IdentiGEN and produce a DNA-based system that starts at the point of slaughter. “This means the carcase can be tracked back to the farm of origin and the cut can be tracked back to the animal, making it a much more robust system,” said McHattie.

DNA from Aberdeen Angus cattle will be stored in a database of animals eligible to enter the CAAB programme. Information in the database will then allow processors to confirm whether or not the meat has Aberdeen Angus origins, which will raise eating quality, AACS said.

McHattie added: “This new technology created by IdentiGEN provides us with the tool to ramp up our due diligence. DNA TraceBack allows us to move our processes to a different level, further protecting the integrity of Aberdeen Angus and, at the same time, giving us a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

According to IdentiGEN co-founder Dr Ronan Loftus, the new technology will provide “100% traceability for all beef carrying the CAAB label”.


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