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21 March 2023

World-Leading Welsh Beef Traceability System can offer Reassurance to Consumers

The current investigation into meat products from abroad being labelled as ‘British’ highlights the value of investing in a full traceability system, according to Welsh red meat body Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

In recent days it has emerged that the National Food Crime Unit was investigating a potential case of South American meat being labelled as British and supplied to catering establishments and a retailer in the north of England.

According to HCC, a twenty-year investment in a world-leading system of traceability backed up by the latest science should help avoid any similar problems for the beef and lamb sector in Wales, giving reassurance to consumers as to the origin of their food.

HCC Red Meat Executive Kirsten Hughes explained, 

“Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb have enjoyed PGI – Protected Geographical Indication – status – for over twenty years, and are supported by the latest science in food traceability.”

PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef must be born and reared in Wales. HCC oversees a system of audits of processing plants to ensure strict compliance with the PGI rules.

Kirsten added,

“As well as a clear paper trail from farm to fork, the system is supported by spot checks using award-winning science.”

“We’ve worked with world-leading traceability specialists to develop a unique ‘fingerprint of origin’ for beef and lamb from Wales, based on trace elements and isotopes they absorb from their natural environment,” explained Kirsten. “This allows the product to be tested at any stage to see if it came from Wales.”

“Understandably, consumers will be concerned about cheap imports, given the investigation taking place in England,” she said, “but as far as Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb are concerned, we’re confident that our system is as strong as it can be.”


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