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Sample DNA testing of pigmeat begins

The testing is to expose misleading labelling of meat, the Irish Farmers’ Association has said.

SAMPLE DNA TESTING on pigmeat as part of a new DNA-certified programme to combat falsely-labelled imported meat has begun in Ireland.

The Irish Farmers’ Association made the announcement this week, saying that mislabelling has been causing issues for farmers.

IFA National Pigs and Pigmeat Chairman Tim Cullinan said pig producers are in a loss-making situation.

Widespread mislabelling is part of our difficulty and has 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.

The Chief Executive of Bord Bia, Aidan Cotter, said that Bord Bia welcomes the initiative.

The DNA programme will become an integral requirement of the Bord Bia Pigmeat Quality Assurance Scheme and will be included as part of both farm and factory audits. The DNA traceability programme will further strengthen the rigorous checks in Quality Assurance from farm to fork.

The IFA will publish results on a regular basis as it says there are imports that are being passed off as Irish meat.

DNA Certified

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.

It uses IdentiGEN and involves 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.

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