From Michigan Farms to Your Plate

MSU researchers are developing a way for conscious consumers to track their beef down to the individual animal.
by | May 19, 2011 AT 3:45 PM

With conscious consumption on the rise, more and more shoppers are demanding locally produced foods. But the "local" label can be misleading since the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture doesn't define what "local" food means. To prove to shoppers that Michigan beef is truly "local," Michigan State University is developing a way for consumers to find out which farm their steak came from and which individual animal it used to be, according to a news release. Since 2007, Michigan has been the only state to have a mandatory livestock tracing program, tagging cattle with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags as a disease management effort. In this pilot, the animal will have a barcode that corresponds to its RFID tag. By either scanning their beef's barcode at the store or using a soon-to-be-created smartphone app, customers would learn about the farm's practices, including how the animal was raised and produced.