New Zealanders protect meat brand with tracking technology

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Concerned with the impact food scandals leave on consumer confidence, New Zealand beef producers are investing in a technology to track meat back to the farm producing it.

Beef and lamb producers from New Zealand have had to compete with corrupt importers attempting to pass meat raised elsewhere as a product of New Zealand. The Wall Street Journal reports new technology with the ability to trace chemicals in the beef back to the soil, grass, water and air consumed by the livestock will confirm the product's origins.

The “fingerprint” created with the technology ensures the meat is a product of New Zealand, protecting the consumer, and the country’s meat products, from counterfeits.

The marker identifies the product to New Zealand consumers and the global market.

Mislabeling isn’t a concern exclusive to one country or one food product. The mislabeled beef containing horsemeat in Europe dominated headlines earlier this summer with consumers in other countries wondering if the meat they were eating was safe and appropriately labeled.

The tests will require modifications before they can be completely reliable, but one New Zealand exporter is ready to use the test to protect the reputation of the premium beef it sends to China. The Stock Journal reports China’s booming middle class is consuming more protein and red meat imports to the country jumped by 214 percent in 2012-2013 compared to the previous 12 month period.

Read more here.

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Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  August, 05, 2013 at 08:21 AM

They are tracing the meat back to the ranch it was raised on. At McD's in Australia you can use your iphone to see where the bun on your burger was baked, where meat came from and where the lettuce was raised. Here we can't even seem to be able to label what country the beef was born, raised and slaughtered.

Ark.  |  August, 06, 2013 at 01:33 PM

We don't want anyone tracing stuff back to the ranch around here. We hate traceability because it might make us responsible. We love labeling though, as long as no one can prove when we are faking it. Australia can keep their trace back idea. It's not fur us small American ranchers who require privacy for ourselves and gullibility from our customers -- we call it "trust" because that sounds better and we even had USDA make a whole big thing out of it -- remember know your food know your farmer? Just know what we want you to think and trust us.

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