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'Fingerprint' technology to boost Welsh lamb's traceability

It comes as a report revealed consumers were becoming more concerned by food fraud. Megan Hesketh reports.

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'Fingerprint' technology to boost Welsh lamb's traceability

Traceability of welsh lamb could be boosted by ‘origin fingerprint’ technology, as report reveals consumers were becoming increasingly concerned about food fraud.

 

Launch of a new partnership between Hybu Cig Cymru- Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and Oritain, a forensic science company, marked the step to improved traceability for consumers across the UK.

 

The new partnership used forensic level science to trace the origin of labelled Welsh Lamb: a first for a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme worldwide.

 

Gwyn Howells, chief executive at HCC, said: “Under this new partnership, lamb can be tested at any point in the supply chain and can be scientifically verified that it came from an animal reared in wales.”

 

Traceability

 

He remarked the partnership with Oritain would take traceability to the highest level through ‘robust product technology’, to meet increasing consumer demand for food origin.

 

Requirements of the scheme specified lambs must be born and reared in wales, and slaughtered and processed at an HCC-approved facility.


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Technology used to create the distinctive Welsh ‘fingerprint of origin’, involved analysis of trace elements and isotopes absorbed by animals in their natural environment, and from the grass and water they consumed.

 

Grant Cochrane, CEO of Oritain, said the technology ‘confirms’ the PGI destination where ‘welsh lamb gets its distinct flavour and characteristics’.

 

It comes as the NFU Mutual revealed in their food fraud report only 12 per cent of people in Scotland have confidence in the European food chain and 3 per cent in the global food chain.

 

NFU Mutual reported 33 per cent of Scottish consumers were less trusting of products and retailers now than they were 5 years ago, with only 8 per cent of consumer’s trust having increased. Further to this, 32 per cent of consumers in Scotland were reported to believe food crime is likely to increase in the future.

 

Frank Woods, NFU Mutual Retail Sector Specialist, said: “There has never been a more important time for tackling food fraud and getting regulation right as we plan to leave the European Union.”

He added the UK food and drink industry could be losing up to £12bn annually to fraud.

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