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July 23, 2012 at 14:58 PM EDT
BioPet Vet Lab Unveils IntegriMEAT™, a DNA Tracking Program for Livestock

BioPet Vet Lab, a leading animal biotechnology company specializing in DNA applications, has launched IntegriMEAT™, a DNA-source verified program aimed to produce an identification and tracking program for America’s livestock. Through a partnership with Southern Natural Foods, a premier meat processor based in Knoxville, BioPet Vet Lab’s pilot program will first track beef from farm to table providing consumer insight into food sources and product claims.

According to Jim Simpson, president of Southern Natural Foods, the program requires point of origin registration with BioPet by producers, as a DNA sample is taken from existing stock and new birth stock. Then, BioPet maintains a database of cattle at each registered farm and a quick response (QR) code, created at the time of rendering, is maintained through distribution by Southern Natural Foods. Final packaging includes the QR code on the label enabling consumers to easily trace their beef from its farm of origin.

“We’ve always looked at food safety and how DNA applies to food safety,” said Simpson. “What we recognized was the need for a program that would encourage more integrity in food production. The name IntegriMEAT™ symbolizes that integrity can be obtained in our nation’s food supply chain.”

Officials with BioPet explain its partnership with Southern Natural Foods stemmed from the meat processor’s commitment to offering locally raised beef that exceeds the USDA’s “All-Natural” requirements.

“Presently, consumers do not have an absolute way of knowing the exact source and quality of their meat,” said Tom Boyd, BioPet Founder and CEO. “People like knowing where their meat comes from, the conditions in which it was raised, and BioPet and Southern Natural Foods are the first to put this information into the consumers’ hands.”

According to Corona Research in Denver, 74 percent of people in the U.S. believe traceability in the meat market increases its quality while 91 percent would pay more for beef that can be source verified. DNA-source verified beef provides consumers with peace of mind at the point of sale and also facilitates a targeted, rapid response in time of food safety events. Unlike external forms of identification for livestock, DNS genotyping is an unalterable form of identification that can be tested throughout an animal’s life and post-slaughter.

Furthermore, Boyd explains that using smartphone technology, consumers have the ability to scan the bar code associated with their meat, either on a package at the grocery store, at a display at the butcher shop or on a restaurant menu and therefore track it from farm to fork.

“With this farm to table mentality and tracking technology, meat producers build a relationship of trust and accountability with the consumer,” said Boyd.

Boyd also explains that in addition to offering public DNA-source verified beef, BioPet also offers the producer valuable herd information. “Farms registered in the program have harvest data readily available, allowing the farmer to make culling decisions based on genetic information,” said Boyd. “BioPet will soon increase the functionality of the online database to provide producers a secure, user-friendly system to manage their herds.”

“As a third generation cattleman, the genetic information and rendering report provided by BioPet helped me identify which bulls produced superior calves,” said Simpson. “I’ve made decisions based on that information which has made for an improved, more profitable operation.”

About BioPet Vet Lab: BioPet Vet Lab is an animal biotechnology company specializing in DNA applications and is located in Knoxville, Tenn. The company’s mission is to offer quality DNA testing services at an affordable price with timely turnaround and friendly, professional customer service. The introduction of IntegriMEAT™ adds to an already extensive portfolio of pet and cattle specific testing. BioPet continues to explore genetic applications to offer more DNA services that can benefit pet organizations, pet owners, and the food animal industry. For more information on BioPet Vet Lab, visit www.biopetvetlab.com. For more information on IntegriMEAT™, visit www.integriMEAT.com or email megretinger@biopetvetlab.com.

About Southern Natural Foods: Southern Natural Foods is a premier meat processor based in Knoxville, Tenn., that only processes cattle that exceeds the USDA’s standards for “All Natural.” Cattle are raised naturally, without the use of additional hormones or antibiotics, and are allowed to roam freely with unrestricted access to fresh, clean water. Southern Natural Foods’ processing plant located in Tennessee maintains an onsite FDA inspector to ensure the highest quality standards are met. For more information on Southern Natural Foods, email jsimpson@snaturalfoods.com.

Contacts:

BioPet Vet Lab
Meg Retinger, 865-246-0514
megretinger@biopetvetlab.com
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