Australia’s meat sector taps Oritain for traceability system

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has teamed up with Oritain to develop a traceability system for beef and lamb products that will allow them to be distinguished from meat produced elsewhere.

The two organisations say they will develop ‘origin fingerprints’ for Australian beef and lamb that – once the system is in place – will allow products to be verified and authenticated “anywhere in global supply chains.”

The Australian red meat industry is worth A$28.5bn (around $22bn), with $17.2bn of that total generated from around 100 export markets, according to the MLA.

That scale “exposes Australian exports to the international food fraud trade, currently estimated to cost the global food industry $50bn per year”, says the independent regulator, citing 2014 data from Michigan State University researcher John Spink.

Using Oritain’s approach, samples of genuine meat products are obtained and analysed in the lab in order to identify a “fingerprint” for each product – based on levels of chemicals and isotopes absorbed by the animal from the environment – that can be used to identify the country, region, and even farm of origin on audit.

The new alliance builds on the work Oritain has already carried out to build a database for lamb, beef, and venison amongst many other red meat types, using data generated .

 “The Australian red meat industry and its reputation for quality and safety is not immune to this exposure and risk - substitution and product misrepresentation impacts all stakeholders in one way or another,” according to the MLA.

“Much of that success is owed to the valuable reputation afforded by our food safety, quality, and brand ‘Australia’. Protecting consumer trust is therefore paramount for the continued success of the Australian red meat industry.”

Last year, Oritain also worked with Australian garment producer Country Road to provide farm to garment traceability for merino wool, prized for its softness, durability and strength, warmth and wicking ability.

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