Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and the Ontario Independent Meat Processors (OIMP) have engaged Oritain, a New Zealand company specializing in scientific traceability to fight food fraud.
They hired Oritain after the University of Guelph revealed that its survey of retail meat found widespread fraud. That came out in January.
BFO says its interest started with a regional marketing initiative to enhance consumer confidence in beef. Part of that was to address the negative consequences mislabelling has on public perceptions of beef products and by extension farmers, abattoirs and the entire beef sector.
“A quick and accurate test to differentiate beef raised in Ontario from other sources, the thinking goes, would go a long way toward discouraging anyone trying to cut some corners with a branded Ontario beef product,” BFO says.
“An investigation by the CFIA landed an Ontario meat packer in court in September on charges of mislabelling. The company was fined $200,000 for offences under the Food and Drugs Act and 4,557 cases of beef trim worth $613,572 ordered disposed by rendering,” it said.
Meanwhile, researchers and the University of British Columbia announced they have a new test to detect meat fraud related to whether something other than muscle has been incorporated – eg. tripe, heart, kidney.
And another technique was announced by Australian researchers who have found a way to quickly gather samples for a DNA test which could also be used to detect whether meat ingredients in, say hamburger or sausages, is beef, pork, lamb or something else.