Under the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme, lamb must have been born and reared in Wales and slaughtered and processed in an HCC-approved facility if it is to carry the Welsh Lamb label. Oritain’s new testing method uses forensic level science to underpin this traceability, which is the first initiative of its kind for a PGI product.
Oritain’s technology analyses trace elements and isotopes which animals absorb from their natural environment and the grass and water that they consume, to establish a distinctive Welsh ‘fingerprint of origin’.
HCC’s chief executive Gwyn Howells said: “Under this new partnership, lamb can be tested at any point in the supply chain and can be scientifically verified that it came from an animal reared in Wales. Of course, Welsh Lamb already has an excellent reputation for traceability among consumers, thanks to the PGI scheme administered in conjunction with NSF Certification. But the new agreement with Oritain takes this to the highest level, ensuring that our premium brand has the ultimate in robust product traceability.
“Consumers are increasingly demanding that the food they buy can be traced back to its origin,” added Howells. “By underpinning our PGI scheme with Oritain’s scientific techniques, people buying Welsh Lamb at home and abroad can be absolutely confident that it has been reared in Wales – with all that entails in terms of the quality of the meat and the high animal welfare and environmental standards of our farmers.”
Grant Cochrane, CEO of Oritain, said: “Welsh Lamb gets its distinct flavour and characteristics from the unique environment it’s reared in, confirmed by its PGI designation. What Oritain then does is to provide complete assurance that the PGI Welsh Lamb consumers are enjoying – wherever they are across the globe – is exactly that, thanks to our world-leading forensic science.
“PGI Welsh Lamb already has a world-leading reputation for quality and traceability. To have that underpinned by Oritain’s traceability technology will further cement that reputation for the future.”
Earlier this year, Welsh lamb producers took part in the Gulfood exhibition in Dubai, where it was revealed that exports to Saudi Arabia would start soon.