New Zealand (NZ) scientists say they can trace individual meat patties to their batches of origin, NZ Association of Crown Research Institutes reports.

Until now, traceback of ground products was thought impossible due to the many different DNA profiles mixed together, says lead scientist Grant Shackell. The NZ process can match samples containing ingredients from up to 40 different animals back to their batch source.

"We're effectively using 15 grams of meat from a ton of meat to match one specific patty back to its manufacturing batch," Shackell says. Mock traces of samples returned from a shipment to Japan have been correctly traced back to their production batch; and, samples deliberately mislabeled to test the system have been detected.

"The day is not far off when, if you see a meat patty for sale anywhere in the world, you will be able to trace it back to the country, herd and animal the meat came from," Shackell says.