Hotdog on a fork

Meat ID Test

What's on your plate?

Illustration of raw meat in a question mark shape on a plate

Have you ever wondered if the meat or food you are eating is really what it says on the menu or label?

The Meat ID test can answer that question. Using the science of DNA, the test identifies 12 different mammalian species that may be present in your food.

Food safety and integrity is a growing concern. Recent news stories highlight problems in the food supply chain, and consumers want to confirm that they are getting what they pay for. Whether your concerns are cultural, religious, or health-based, the Meat ID test can bring you peace of mind.

Meat ID Test



Turn Around Time

3-5 business days

Species Detected

Beef, Bison, Horse, Deer, Goat, Sheep, Pig, Rabbit, Mouse, Rat, Cat, Dog (Bear, Elk, Antelope, and Moose coming soon)

Sample Submission

Log on to MyVGL to order your test.


  • Cuts of meat: samples can be as small as a kernel of corn
  • Ground meat products: please send entirety of available sample


  • Place samples in a plastic screw-top container or triple bag them to prevent leakage.
  • Freeze samples prior to shipping.
  • Meat should be shipped with a freezer pack.
  • Include the barcoded submission form that you created online.
  • Ship samples overnight via private courier (Federal Express, UPS or DHL; not the US Postal Service) to:

Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
Meat ID Test
University of California, Davis
Old Davis Road
Davis, CA 95616

The laboratory is closed weekends and holidays. Please keep this in mind when shipping your samples so that they remain fresh.

Meat under magnifying  glass



Frequently Asked Questions

  • What species do you test for?
  • The test reliably detects beef, bison, horse, deer, goat, sheep, pig, rabbit, mouse, rat, cat, and dog. Bear, elk, antelope, and moose will be added soon.
  • Does it test for seafood or poultry?
  • No, only the species listed above. Additional tests can be developed if there is a demonstrated need.
  • Can you test meat mixtures?
  • Yes, the test is designed to work on species mixtures found in ground meat.
  • Does the test work on cooked meat?
  • Yes, the test identifies meat that is cooked, cured, dried or smoked as well as raw.
  • Does the test work on wet dog food?
  • No, but we are able to test dry dog food.
  • How sensitive is the test?
  • The Meat ID test is very sensitive, with the ability to detect species comprising less than 1% of the total mixture.
  • How much sample do you need?
  • A piece the size of a corn kernel is sufficient for cuts of meat, but ground meat products should sent in their entirety.
  • Does the test work on bones or fur?
  • It does, but those samples are much more expensive to test due to the additional steps involved in preparing them for testing.
  • What is the cost of the Meat ID test?
  • The price is $150. If this is for a legal case, please contact the VGL-Forensics unit. A different fee structure and time frame will apply.
  • How long does it take to get the results?
  • Results are sent via email within 3-5 business days of sample receipt.
  • How do I get the Meat ID test done on my sample?
  • Follow the instructions listed above ("Sample Submission").