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Using DNA testing to protect Aberdeen-Angus beef

How far would you go to protect the name and heritage of your product? Well if you’re an Aberdeen-Angus cattle producer, the answer to that is quite far to ensure your product’s name and heritage is not marred by imposters marketing and selling their products as prime Aberdeen-Angus beef. The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society recently recruited the services of IdentiGEN, a company that specialises in providing DNA technology to the food industry, to develop a DNA test to ensure beef sold as Aberdeen Angus is legitimate. As Aberdeen-Angus beef commands high prices, breeders are keen to ensure no-one uses their pristine reputation to sell a meat lacking in the discerning characteristics expected of Aberdeen-Angus beef. In a traditional sense, for beef to be sold as such, there are criteria that need to be met; this however is reliant on a paper-based audit trail, which is open to “human error” explains Ron McHattie of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society. Consequently, and reported to be the first of its kind in the UK, the society expects to roll the test out to supermarkets shortly. A link to the BBC article reporting this story is avaliable here.

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