Tougher testing of pork origin planned by AHDB

The testing of pork and pork products, for their origin, is being stepped up by AHDB Pork, moving from a quarterly check to a monthly programme.

The testing process to be used is SIRA (Stable Isotope Reference Analysis), an innovative technology which compares retail and processed pork and pork products against a library of pork samples from known locations, built up over a number of years. This will allow testers to see which products come from UK sources and which don’t.

“The focus to date has been on fresh pork in supermarkets,” said AHDB Pork’s strategy director, Mick Sloyan (pictured above). “Last year, we extended this to bacon and pork used as a raw material in sausages and ham and, in the coming months, we will be focusing on high street butchers, a segment of the market we haven’t concentrated on in the past.”

Although AHDB Pork has no regulatory role on pork labelling, its testing programme opens the door for information on wrongly stated origins to be passed to the authorities if that’s deemed necessary. The move to include independent butchers in the testing programme is also seen as a significant development.

“We know consumers take a great interest in the origin of their pork and it is now a legal requirement to make sure packs of fresh pork are clearly labelled with the country of origin,” said Mr Sloyan.

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