DNA Technology on the Menu in 11,000 U.S. Restaurants
DNA used to verify Angus and Midwest origins for Performance Food Group customers
Lawrence, Kan., May 26, 2011 -- Starting today, 11,000 U.S. restaurants that serve Braveheart Black Angus Beef will be able to assure diners a guarantee of quality about their premium Angus beef through DNA TraceBack®, the nation’s first-of-its-kind assurance of quality and commitment.
Braveheart Black Angus Beef is the premier brand of quality Angus beef exclusively supplied by Performance Food Group (PFG), one of the nation’s largest broadline food distributors and a recognized innovator in the premium beef market. DNA TraceBack is the proprietary DNA-based traceability system developed by IdentiGEN North America. PFG has teamed with IdentiGEN to set a new standard in the U.S. food service industry by using DNA to assure restaurant patrons that the beef they’re eating came from corn-fed Angus cattle raised in the American Midwest.
“We're using DNA to assure our customers that the precise standards behind Braveheart Black Angus Beef are being met,” said George Holm, President and CEO of PFG. “It’s part of Braveheart’s fearless commitment to quality.”
PFG sets exacting standards for its Braveheart Black Angus cattle. All Braveheart beef products -- from steaks to hamburger -- must come from Angus cattle humanely raised in the Midwest on an all-vegetarian, corn-based diet for superior flavor and tenderness. All Braveheart beef is processed to unmatched high standards in the industry, using the most modern and effective techniques to produce a consistent, high-yield, safe and superior product.
Deployment of Braveheart Black Angus Beef with DNA TraceBack will begin today at four processing plants and at the more than 11,000 restaurants, food service outlets and grocery retailers that offer Braveheart Black Angus Beef. Braveheart’s restaurant customers will then be able to include the DNA TraceBack seal on their menus.
“There is nothing better than pairing a fine wine with a great steak at your favorite restaurant. But while diners are accustomed to wine lists that tout the vintage of wines, it has been difficult, if not impossible, for the discerning customer to find the same assurances about the steak that sits at the center of their plate until now,” said Fred Sanelli, PFG’s senior vice president of marketing, brands & sales development.
Widely used in Europe for more than a decade, DNA TraceBack employs the animal’s unique DNA profile to inexpensively and quickly verify brand claims for beef and pork.
“DNA TraceBack uses nature’s own barcode -- the DNA of each animal -- to identify and trace each cut of meat from animal to fork,” said Ronan Loftus, CEO of IdentiGEN North America. “There is a lot of marketing noise out there. DNA technology cuts through that noise, and provides the ultimate proof of product integrity. Kudos to PFG for raising the bar.”
DNA will also be used to continually improve the genetics of the Braveheart Black Angus cattle herds to favor those animals that deliver the best qualities for a premium end product.
“You can’t improve what you don’t measure. We see DNA TraceBack as a way to benchmark Braveheart and continue to further improve its already superior eating quality over time,” said Steve Sands, vice president of protein for PFG.
DNA TraceBack was developed by geneticists at Trinity College Dublin to help Irish grocery retailers rebuild consumer confidence in beef following the Mad Cow outbreak in the mid-1990s. IdentiGEN was founded to commercialize the technology for the global meat industry. IdentiGEN North America’s state-of –the-art laboratory is located in Lawrence, Kan., near the source of Braveheart Black Angus cattle.
About Performance Food Group
Performance Food Group Company is the parent company of the leading family of foodservice distributors – Performance Foodservice, Vistar, and PFG Customized Distribution. Through these three segments, it delivers over 94,000 national and proprietary branded food and food-related products to more than 115,000 independent and national chain restaurants, quick-service eateries, pizzerias, theaters, schools, hotels, healthcare facilities, and other institutions via its 65 distribution centers and 12 Merchant’s Mart locations across the United States. More information can be found at www.pfgc.com.
About IdentiGEN North America
IdentiGEN Ltd., with its North American subsidiary IdentiGEN, Inc., is a privately held, venture-backed company, and a leading provider of DNA-based solutions to the agriculture and food industries. It was founded as a spinoff from the Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin, where the company’s core area of expertise – genetic identification – was developed. Through IdentiGEN’s DNA-based TraceBack® system, retailers, meat processors, producers and local governments, for the first time, have the tools to unequivocally trace meat back to its source. Additional information can be found at www.identigen.com and www.dnatraceback.com.
Note to Editors: High-resolution Graphics
High-resolution photos of Braveheart Black Angus beef, including its package, are available.
Photos of the DNA TraceBack process at IdentiGEN’s lab in Lawrence, Kansas, are also available.