DNA traceability could help guarantee the authenticity of Scotch Beef and support consumer confidence in the PGI brand.
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has commissioned a feasibility study into introducing DNA traceability after a ‘period of engagement’ announced last October to gauge industry support.
Jim McClaren, QMS chairman, said: “Our beef producers in Scotland benefit from a price premium for their beef and it is vital this valuable reward for the work they do to deliver a quality product is not undermined.”
Mr McLaren said the industry needed to be able to robustly defend the integrity of the brand, and all which sets it apart, from any unscrupulous activity.
He said: “Consumer trust is a key aspect of our Scotch Beef PGI brand and protecting the brand is vitally important.
“We need to ensure its premium market position is protected and it is possible DNA testing may offer the potential to take the existing quality assurance and brand integrity measures in place to a new level.”
The study will consider both the potential benefits and how it could be implemented.
It came as HCC revealed a survey by DJS Research showed 55 per cent of consumers in key markets, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy, would prefer to buy a product which had a PGI symbol.
The survey found 37 per cent said would be more likely to purchase Welsh Lamb in future, partly due to its European designation, with 49 per cent saying the same for Welsh Beef.
HCC export executive Deanna Jones said the PGI reinforced Welsh meat’s credentials for sustainability and traceability and maintaining it after Brexit was crucial.
She said: “The mark is better known among consumers in some countries, such as Italy, than it is in Britain, but in the worldwide food industry, it is a highly respected mark of quality.”