SWIFT Australia will use a DNA-based meat traceability system to protect the integrity of its King Island Beef brand.
Developed by Pfizer Animal Genetics, the Suretrak DNA traceability system will ensure every piece of King Island branded beef can be traced back to its origins on King Island.
Under the system, a DNA sample will be taken from each King Island animal at the processing plant and sent to the Pfizer Animal Genetics laboratory in Brisbane, where they will be stored should a traceback be required.
Swift Australia spokesman Jamie Ferguson said the system would be integrated into existing processing procedures to give customers peace of mind.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers chief executive, Chris Oldfield, said the system would strengthen the brand and was a step in the right direction for King Island producers.
"A brand represents a promise to the market ... and to be of any true value, that brand must be protected.''
Mr Oldfield said the Suretrak system would give Swift Australia greater power to protect the brand and prove it, should the need arise.
"Protecting the brand helps protect the abattoir and King Island producers,'' he said.
The move follows a Senate inquiry into meat marketing earlier this year where industry groups argued branded beef (based on either region or breed) needed to be protected by government legislation.
Although the inquiry found King Island beef producers had no grounds to claim a geographical identification system and said "regional claims in the beef industry are a marketing ploy'', the committee recommended the ACCC "take a particular interest'' in the misuse of the King Island name.
"The committee is unable to recommend legislative change prohibiting beef raised on the island from being identified as King Island beef,'' the report said.
The report concluded that King Island producers would need to solve the "marketing problem with a marketing solution''.