With their Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), international premium brands, Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, are among the most sought-after meats by consumers and top chefs.

Sold at retail stores and in foodservice across the map, they are now two of the most traceable meats in the world.

In 2018, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) formed a pioneering partnership with food technology specialists Oritain in the protection of Welsh Lamb, to authenticate genuine products through forensic science.

After the success of this award-winning programme, they are now set to expand its reach to include Welsh Beef, providing an extra layer of reassurance to an already strong system of traceability from farm to fork.

Wales is known for its sustainable, low-intensity agriculture, based on the country’s outstanding natural environment.

Using land unsuited for other food production and plentiful natural resources of grass and rainwater, top-quality beef and lamb is produced with far fewer emissions than many other farming systems across the globe.

Use of forensic science in Welsh Beef

World leaders in scientific traceability, Oritain uses a combination of forensic science and statistical models to trace and analyse the origin of products and raw materials.

Working in accordance with mother nature, Oritain analyses the naturally-occurring elements in Welsh Beef that the cattle absorb from their environment.

This forensic science is the same science that’s been used in the criminal investigations field for over 40 years. It is incredibly accurate and robust, and doesn’t rely on extra barcodes or packaging—the product can be tested at any point in the supply chain.

This means that Welsh farmers can be confident that the quality meat they rear and sell—and the reputation this affords—is protected as it moves through the supply chain, providing both buyers and consumers with the assurance that the Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb they buy is the same great meat that has been reared in Wales.

Gwyn Howells, HCC chief executive, said:

Since we took the bold step of partnering with Oritain to provide an extra layer of scientific assurance to our strong system of traceability for Welsh Lamb—the first PGI meat product to take this step—we’ve been delighted with the results.

“They have proved that our supply chain has an exceptionally high degree of integrity, and the partnership was recognised with a top food technology award in 2019.

“Now we’re proud to take the next step and expand our partnership to include Welsh Beef as well as Welsh Lamb.

“This system, which is simpler than DNA testing and doesn’t rely on barcodes or labels, will give the ultimate reassurance to clients at home and abroad.

“If it’s high-quality, sustainable Welsh meat you want, that’s what you’ll get.”

Oritain CEO, Grant Cochrane, said:

HCC has always been a progressive, forward thinking organisation. We can see this in their PGI status, the work they do in-market raising awareness of Welsh meat, and with their emphasis on quality and authenticity.

“That’s why they partnered with us back in 2018 and why they are now expanding this partnership to Welsh Beef.

“They are a truly valued partner of ours and we love seeing them continue to grow from strength to strength.”