Applied DNA Sciences: Knowing Your Product with CertainT

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to prove that your product is what you say it is? For about 15 years, a company called Applied DNA Sciences  has used unique molecular identity tags to put information such as the location of a plant or date of manufacture right into a product. These tags are made of extremely short DNA sequences — a sort of molecular barcode, says Judy Murrah, Chief Operating Officer of the company.

 “Our customer Nutrition 21 provides OU-certified products,” she continues. “Since they’re using our molecular tags, we are required to have our specific bit of DNA OU-certified, because it’s an ingredient.” Once approval is given for a particular product, the tag is then one way to demonstrate that it’s produced in a plant that is OU-certified and uses OU-certified products.

Checking up involves a simple test that can detect genetic material from a swab or bit of liquid. With their portable, battery-operated equipment, the process takes just half an hour, and the company is working to make it even more efficient.

Murrah says everyone enjoyed the process of certification. “Several of the rabbis came here to inspect our facilities. They spent a long time and asked great questions. We were impressed with the level of detail — they really wanted to understand our product and process, enough that they could feel competent to give the certification.”

Not only is the OU symbol on labels, as required, it’s been announced on the company’s website and in a press release, and they use it as a selling point in the market for food products. While they haven’t yet pitched CertainT to OU manufacturers, that remains a possibility.

Gary Magder