Welsh farmers extend traceability to beef supply chain

Meat Promotion Wales has agreed a new traceability partnership with Oritain to include Welsh beef, extending a programme that started with lamb in 2018.

The new "farm to fork" system uses a combination of forensic science and statistical models to trace and analyse the origin of products and raw materials, according to the Meat Promotion Wales (Hybu Cig Cymru or HCC).

Oritain analyses the naturally-occurring elements that animals absorb from their environment via the grass and water that they consume, which makes it possible to trace the origins of meat at any point in the supply chain. It doesn't require DNA testing or scanning of barcodes or labels.

Both Welsh beef and lamb have Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, which signify a quality, reputation or other characteristic that can be attributed to a geographical origin.

It means that the animals must have been born and reared in Wales and slaughtered and processed in an HCC-approved facility if it is to carry the Welsh lamb of beef label.

"Wales is known for its sustainable, low-intensity agriculture based on the country’s outstanding natural environment," said the HCC in a statement on the new partnership, noting that Welsh lamb was the first PGI meat product to implement this level of traceability.

"Using land unsuited for other food production and plentiful natural resources of grass and rainwater, top-quality beef and lamb is produced with far fewer emissions than many other farming systems across the globe."

The Welsh lamb traceability system won an award at the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology’s annual awards in 2019.

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