Applying the latest technology and working with the supply chain is essential when it comes to protecting the credentials of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef.

Hybu Cig Cymru and Oritain, who use innovative forensic science to verify the origin of red meat products, recently visited fourth generation farmer Will Evans, who farms at Hendreseifion near Machynlleth, to see first-hand how the Welsh Way of farming ensures a sustainable, nutritious red meat product that is produced in harmony with the environment.

The land is a mix of lowland and upland and the Evans family are passionate about working towards a resilient farming business that will be fit for future generations.

Taking a modern, forward-thinking approach to their farming system, Will along with his wife Nia and 3 young sons, is moving away from the more traditional beef and sheep farm system to a sheep and dairy heifer rearing enterprise on a rotational grazing system.

HCC’s Producer and Processor Senior Officer Jenni Evans said: “Oritain have worked with HCC to develop a dataset where they are able to determine the origin of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef.

The objective of this verification of origin is to enhance the traceability of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef products in order to strengthen the scheme and safeguard the brands for the future.”

In 2018, Oritain and HCC formed a partnership with a world first in the protection of Welsh Lamb through forensic science. In 2021, the programme increased its reach to Welsh Beef, providing an extra layer of reassurance of traceability from farm to fork.

Oritain’s database for lamb, beef and other red meat has been developed through a unique combination of forensic and data science.

“Consumers today demand greater transparency around the origin of the products they consume, and studies have proved this influences the purchase of red meat. Oritain is proud to have partnered with HCC for over 7 years to underpin the integrity of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef,” said Henry Ryan, Oritain Client Manager.

“It’s been rewarding for us to see firsthand the commitment of Welsh farmers, as evidenced by the Evans family, to sustainable, high quality red meat production that works with the natural environment rather than against it, and we’re confident the partnership with Oritain will continue to support the growth of Welsh red meat for many years to come.”

“Wales is known for its sustainable, low-intensity agriculture based on our 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. The good news is that we can also scientifically prove it,” explained Jenni.

“The forensic science that is used to prove our credentials is the same science used in the criminal investigations field. It is incredibly accurate and robust, and doesn’t rely on extra barcodes or packaging—the product can be tested at multiple points through the supply chain.