Alliance and Oritain develop food origin technology

Analysing Alliance lamb is Oritain laboratory manager, Graham Henderson.New Zealand meat processor and exporter Alliance Group, and food certification company Oritain Global, are using technology designed to enable Alliance Group to scientifically certify the origin of New Zealand sheepmeat.

Alliance Group can now use a unique chemical test to prove that the sheepmeat it exports to customers across the globe originates from New Zealand.

The test analyses the meat’s unique geochemical  profile, which is based on the water, soil and air where an animal grazes, and compares the information with a database, much like that of fingerprint technology.

Murray Brown, general manager marketing for Alliance Group, says, “This technology provides our customers, and ultimately consumers, with a scientific assurance their meat originates from New Zealand. Our ability to prove provenance for our premium New Zealand lamb can only enhance the value of our products.

“Alliance Group already has well established traceability systems, however we’re excited at the potential of this science to enhance our existing systems.”

He adds:  “Alliance Group has always been at the forefront of new technology and this development underlines our commitment to innovation which benefits our suppliers and customers.”

Dr Helen Darling of Oritain says the rapid increase in global food fraud now means that the ability to scientifically prove the origin of a product is increasingly important for both producers and processors.

She said New Zealand loses around NZ$89 million every year to the black market, but this is conservative as it does not include trade within countries.

“The world trade in counterfeit goods is estimated to exceed NZ$298 billion every year and is growing. It’s likely that this actual value is much higher given that the estimate is based on actual interceptions.”

Alliance Group is a co-operative owned by approximately 5,000 farmer shareholders and is the world’s largest processor and exporter of sheepmeat.

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