World-First DNA Certified Programme for Pigmeat Will Expose Mislabelling Culprits

The Irish Farmers’ Association has today (Wed) announced a world first ‘DNA certified’ Programme for pigmeat that will expose mis

leading labelling and provide a guaranteed assurance for producers and consumers on the origin of pigmeat.

The ‘DNA Certified’ Programme will allow for the scientific assessment of the origin of pigmeat products by tracing actual pigmeat product rather than associated labels. Employing the expertise of IdentiGEN, which is pioneering the development of DNA based traceability solutions globally, the Programme will involve the profiling of all boar samples using a proprietary panel of DNA markers and the development of a database that will contain the DNA of every Irish boar serving sows in the country.

Non-compliance will be recorded when a number of samples from the same source are found not to match the database, highlighting the presence of non-Irish pigmeat. The IFA will collect meat samples labelled as Irish on an ongoing basis, which will be checked against the database. If they do not match up, the mislabelling will be exposed.

IFA President John Bryan said, “This DNA-certified initiative will provide the highest level of traceability that exists anywhere in the world. Pig producers here operate to the most stringent standards as part of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme. The partnership with IdentiGEN will safeguard Irish pig producers by ensuring that processors guilty of passing off imports as Irish will be exposed.”

Commenting on its role, Ronan Loftus, Co-founder and Director of IdentiGEN said, ”We are delighted to be partnering with the IFA on this groundbreaking initiative. It will introduce a new standard of integrity to the Irish pigmeat sector, ensuring confidence in the origin of all pigmeat marketed as Irish. Globally this is the first time that a national DNA database of all breeding stock has been established to provide unequivocal guarantees of product origin, potentially creating new opportunities to market Irish pork internationally.”

IFA National Pigs and Pigmeat Chairman Tim Cullinan said frustration among pig producers at widespread mislabelling had led to the development of the DNA Certified Programme. “Pig producers and consumers will be secure in the knowledge that solid science is determining the precise origin of pigmeat. The successful implementation of the Programme will effectively put an end to misleading labelling in the retail, processing and catering sectors.”

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