USDA Approves Viagen's Angusure

New program provides genetic assurance of Angus heritage.

Published on: Dec 2, 2005

USDA gave the final approval to ViaGen's DNA verified beef program. The new program trademarked AnguSure, uses genetic testing to verify the genetic heritage of animals sold as "Angus." Cattle with a high percentage of Angus have been shown to reliably produce the quality beef required by many premium brands. The program is supplemental to existing requirements for all USDA-certified Angus programs.

Other than a registered pedigree, a DNA test is the only way to confirm genetic heritage. AnguSure utilizes ViaGen's patented genetic breed identification technology to quantify the amount of Angus genetics in any cattle DNA sample. The tested animal is compared to more than 275 registered Angus bulls, which have collectively sired more than 100,000 calves in the last decade.

Austin-based animal genomics firm ViaGen, Inc., developed AnguSure and a number of similar tests to enable producers and feedlots to determine or verify breed composition of all cattle, including Angus cattle. ViaGen sells the genetic tests directly to cattle producers to help them manage and market their animals to cattle buyers who pay premiums for animals meeting specific breed criteria. Through ViaGen's tests, even small producers can capitalize on the demand for Angus genetics.

ViaGen has granted an exclusive retail license to market the "Independently Verified by AnguSure" testing program and the AnguSure emblem at retail to Premium Gold Angus Beef, which has been testing since early this year. Premium Gold Angus products are available nationwide through approximately 2,500 select retailers and the "Independently Verified by AnguSure" emblem will begin appearing on products in stores this January, setting Premium Gold apart in the highly competitive retail beef market.

Last year, ViaGen performed genetic tests on beef from seven Angus retail brands and found wide variation in the breed composition in each. More than half of the samples from one brand failed ViaGen's AnguSure criteria, and the brand was discontinued by the grocery – a real life validation of the importance of true Angus genetics to consumers.

"This is the new way of getting the right type of cattle into the right hands," says Sara Davis, ViaGen's vice president for genetic services and co-founder. "Our tests provide certainty – giving producers documented predictability and consumers DNA-verification of the best beef available." Producers who utilize the DNA tests can elect to have ViaGen inform Premium Gold Angus and several other branded programs of the breed composition and location of the tested animals.