The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has announced that sample testing as part of the ‘DNA certified’ Programme for pigmeat has begun, which will expose misleading labelling and provide an assurance for producers and consumers on the origin of pigmeat.
IFA National Pigs and Pigmeat Chairman Tim Cullinan said pig producers were in a loss-making situation, which had the industry on the brink. Widespread mislabelling was part of rhe farmer’s difficulty and had led to the development of the DNA Certified Programme. Pig producers and consumers would be secure in the knowledge that solid science was determining the precise origin of pigmeat. The successful implementation of the Programme would effectively put an end to misleading labelling in the retail, processing and catering sectors, according to Cullinan.
Safeguarding pig producer’s livelihoods
The Chief Executive of Bord Bia Aidan Cotter said that the DNA programme would become an integral requirement of the Bord Bia Pigmeat Quality Assurance Scheme and would be included as part of both farm and factory audits.
IFA will publish results on a regular basis to give a cast-iron guarantee to consumers and safeguard the livelihoods of pig producers, who are under severe pressure because of rising costs and pressure from imports that are passed off as Irish. Profiling Irish boars
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.