The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) in conjunction with Pig ReGen and the Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum have agreed to progress with the introduction of a programme to DNA test pigmeat products to provide assurances to consumers on the integrity of locally labelled products.

Speaking after the agreement was reached, UFU Pork and Bacon Chairman, Jonathan Cuddy said: “Pig producers in Northern Ireland have always had concerns about the possible misrepresentation of pigmeat products by retailers and the food service sector. A product testing DNA programme has been in operation in the Republic of Ireland for a few years now and we have agreed to introduce a similar programme here in Northern Ireland. This way, NI consumers can be assured that locally identified and labelled pig products are indeed from pigs that have been born, reared and slaughtered in Northern Ireland and that they have been produced to the highest welfare standards which we are required to meet here.

“The programme will be based on the establishment of a DNA databank of all boars that contribute to the production of NI pigmeat, which will be used to link tested primary and processed products back to its boar of origin. Now that an agreement has been reached to proceed with this initiative locally, we will develop the more detailed operational elements of the programme and will keep pig producers informed as progress is made.”