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DNA Profiling Offers Virtually Immediate Traceback

by 5m Editor
4 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1439. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council


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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1439

A new system which uses DNA to identify the source farm of pork promises virtually instant traceback of the meat.

Maple Leaf Foods intends to have full genetic traceback in place at one of its plants that ships high value pork products to Japan by the end of the year.

Director of Genetics and Science Dr. John Webb says the system will genetically link the meat to its originating farm.

"It's natures bar code which is nice because it makes it difficult for anyone to cheat. In Our system, we will DNA type all the mothers contributing meat to a certain plant.

What happens is, when a replacement gilt comes into the herd, you simply take a blood sample and post it off to a DNA lab and the lab types the sow and enters that information into the database. When you want to track a piece of meat, you simply take a meat sample and they type that and enter that into the database.

At that point, a very clever searching process begins in which the genetic fingerprint from the meat is matched to the genetic fingerprint in the mother.

The searching process is pretty well instantaneous and the database is accessible over the internet so, in principle, the DNA typing could be done by any lab. For example, if meat went to Japan and it needed to be traced, then any laboratory in Japan could do it.

The actual DNA typing process, on a routine basis, takes about eight hours but in an emergency, with something like salmonella or E. Coli, by paying more money you can get it done down to a couple of hours".

Dr. Webb says the approximately 30 thousand sows that supply the processing plant will be profiled by the spring and there will be full traceability on their offspring.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor