IFA-led DNA pigmeat research uncovers ‘mislabelling’

Findings from an Irish Farmers Association (IFA)-led DNA pigmeat traceability programme has uncovered “misleading labelling” of Irish pigmeat.

Speaking to AgriLand this afternoon, IFA pig chairman Pat O’Flaherty explained a joint IFA/Identigen ‘DNACertified’ programme was established last year with the aim of reassuring consumers on the country of origin of bacon and pork meat products in Irish shops. It is also run in conjunction with a number of pig processors.

O’Flaherty said its latest findings, published this week, show major retailers operating in Ireland are “mislabelling pigmeat as Irish pigmeat”.

“We are the first in the world to lead research into this area of tracing DNA pigment. We have undertaken random sampling of pork and bacon products, cooked and uncooked to determine if the meat is Irish or non-Irish. Huge investment from farmers is behind this research. The latest findings show major retail brands are misleading people. Some are buying half Irish pigmeat and importing another half and masquerading it as Irish.”

The IFA pig chairman said the findings confirm suspicions held in the pig sector and also highlights the need for a radical overhaul of traceability. “This cannot continue,” he insisted.

O’Flaherty is now calling for clearly defined country of origin stickers on each product in Ireland’s supermarket shelves. “At the minute, anything that doesn’t have the Bord Bia logo could come from anywhere and this can’t continue.”

In addition, the IFA pig chairman has welcomed Carty Meats, the first pig processor in Ireland to carry a ‘DNATracebook’ logo on all its Irish pigmeat products. He said the company will also label the country of origin on all its non-Irish pigmeat products.

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