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Maple Leafs Targets Full DNA Traceability by Year End

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

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1438. 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 1438

Maple Leaf Foods plans to have full DNA traceability in effect at one of its high value pork processing plants by the end of this year.

To maintain its competitive edge in the export market and hopefully extract additional premiums, Maple Leaf is putting a greater emphasis on traceability.

Maple Leaf Director of Genetics and Science Dr. John Webb told those attending the 2004 Manitoba Swine Seminar, genetic profiling will allow the meat to be linked directly to the herd that produced it.

He says the DNA typing process has become much quicker and much cheaper.

"Ideally we'd like to track, through every step in the pork value chain, from the plate, from meat cooked or otherwise, back through the plant and through the live animal process.

There are two reasons for this. One is proof of origin, for example for the Japanese market, that the meat did actually come from farms that do special things for that market. Secondly, so that we can track any mistakes, residues or faults in the meat and so on.

We're going to introduce this DNA traceability during this year at one of our plants sending high value products to Japan.

The cost of the traceability system will be something in the order of a dollar per carcass. From mid-February through to May, we'll be collecting blood samples from about 30 thousand sows and putting them into a database.

When their progeny come through at the end of the year, in about November, then we'll have full traceability on that plant".

Dr. Webb says Canada's relatively small and compact pig industry makes it easy to introduce this type of traceability on a large scale, something he believes the US couldn't do at this point.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor