Isotope analysis and provenance of pig meat
Research partners: Longhand Data Limited, AHDB Pork and QMS
Sponsors: AHDB Pork and QMS
Duration: 2009 – 2010
Aims and objectives
- To evaluate comprehensively stable isotope analysis for the origin verification of pork and pork products
- To establish a reference database as the benchmark against which future test samples can be compared for origin verification.
The main purpose of the project was to establish a reference database and use samples of known origin (presented blind to the laboratory) to provide a robust test its use for origin verification. A successful outcome would be to have sufficient confidence in the results to use the database as the basis for supplementing paper-based audits.
- Good separation can be achieved of samples from Britain against samples of other origin
- Samples from Ireland are difficult to separate: (a) because it is not possible to separate clearly the isotopic signatures of Northern Ireland and Eire and; (b) because Irish pork shows a greater similarity with pork from continental Europe than does British pork, probably due to feed imports
- Origin verification is more difficult for processed products
- Overall it can be concluded that isotope analysis against the known database is a very useful tool to use alongside more traditional supply chain auditing techniques to provide increased confidence to customers that the correct information is on the label.