Identigen, a Dublin-headquartered food safety and traceability firm, has secured a contract worth in excess of €17 million with the Swiss meat association, Proviande.
The five-year contract is for use of the company’s DNA Traceback system to guarantee the integrity of Swiss beef.
Proviande announced plans earlier this year for a new scheme that will see a genetic sample being taken from every calf and cow in abattoirs with a DNA profile stored in a national database.
While the service is initially being introduced for beef and veal it is envisaged that it will be expanded to include pork and poultry.
According to Proviande, 348,057 tonnes of meat were produced in Switzerland last year with just over 80 per cent consumed in its home market.
"It is a big deal and one we've been working on for some time," co-founder and director Ronan Loftus told The Irish Times. "It marks the first time that Identigen has signed a deal with a national organisation and we're very excited to be working on the project."
Horse meat scare
The company, which did the genetics that identified the horse meat scare in 2013, has established a new dedicated laboratory in Zurich following the signing of the deal.
“There is a big price differential with Swiss meat being one of the most expensive in the world so Proviande wants to be able to guarantee that it is reared to their standards,” said Mr Loftus.
The Trinity College Dublin spin-out was established in 1996 and has operations in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and the Czech Republic. Its customers include major food processors and supermarkets, and it typically works in what Mr Loftus described as "discrete supply chains".
MML Capital Partners Ireland, an Enterprise Ireland-backed fund, invested about €12 million in Identigen in 2015 to give it control in the company in partnership with its management.