ABERYSTWYTH, WALES – The Hybu Cig Cymru: Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) recently extended its partnership with food science and technology company, Oritain, to include beef produced by Welsh ranchers. Oritain already provides traceability services for Welsh lamb products.

Oritain does not use DNA traceability. Instead, the company establishes a distinctive Welsh “fingerprint of origin” using analyses of trace elements and isotopes which animals absorb from their natural environment and the grass and water that they consume. This type of analysis is similar to the forensic science used in the criminal investigations field, according to Oritain.

Lamb producers in Wales rely on traceability to maintain the integrity of the Welsh Lamb Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). And as the global demand for Welsh Beef increases, so does the opportunity for fraud, according to HCC. Traceability services provided by Oritain are meant to provide an extra layer of reassurance to Welsh beef producers that HCC is successfully protecting the integrity of their products.

“Since we took the bold step of partnering with Oritain to provide an extra layer of scientific assurance to our strong system of traceability for Welsh Lamb — the first PGI meat product to take this step —we’ve been delighted with the results,” said Gwyn Howells, HCC chief executive. “They have proved that our supply chain has an exceptionally high degree of integrity, and the partnership was recognized with a top food technology award in 2019.

“Now we’re proud to take the next step and expand our partnership to include Welsh Beef as well as Welsh Lamb,” Howells added. “This system, which is simpler than DNA testing and doesn’t rely on barcodes or labels, will give the ultimate reassurance to clients at home and abroad. If it’s high-quality, sustainable Welsh meat you want, that’s what you’ll get.”

In 2019, lamb samples were collected from processing plants, wholesalers, supermarkets, butcher shops, hotels and restaurants in Wales and other locations abroad. Testing at Oritain’s laboratories confirmed that all the products advertised as Welsh Lamb were genuine, originating from farms in Wales.

“HCC has always been a progressive, forward thinking organization,” said Grant Cochrane, chief executive officer of Oritain. “We can see this in their PGI status, the work they do in-market raising awareness of Welsh meat, and with their emphasis on quality and authenticity. That’s why they partnered with us back in 2018 and why they are now expanding this partnership to Welsh Beef. They are a truly valued partner of ours and we love seeing them continue to grow from strength to strength.”