Validating red meat origins in response to product fraud
10 March 2021
In response to rising product fraud and increased demand for traceability, MLA and Oritain recently completed a joint project developing the capability to validate the authenticity of Australian red meat and lamb product in foreign markets.
This week, MLA’s On the ground Podcast spoke to Oritains Regional Head of Customer Engagement, Sam Lind, about the project and how the capability was developed.
1. How does Oritain validate red meat’s authenticity?
Oritain is a science and data company that deploys food forensics to trace red meat through the supply chain.
Using the unique geochemistry of different regions, we have developed a large sample library of unique chemical ‘fingerprints’ of red meat products. This is done by breaking down the fingerprints to determine the unique attributes to each region and how they differ from others.
We can effectively sample Australian beef or lamb from any global markets, and through our system determine which region in Australia the product is from. This is part of the value we deliver, understanding how big the food fraud problem is across multiple supply chains for our customers.
2. What was involved in the project with MLA?
The project developed with MLA expanded the product verification capability in the Australian context.
Working with beef and lamb processors from all major production areas in Australia, several thousand product cuts were tested through chemical analyses to establish the capability to verify Australian product in a foreign market.
This was to produce a status called ‘fit for purpose’, where capability has been established to a high degree of certainty and is ready for commercial use.
3. To what level of detail can you trace product?
We built this capability to different levels so we can answer if this product is from a certain country or region. For example, if particular beef or lamb products are Australian or if they have been substituted.
4. What are exporters wanting out of this traceability tool?
Traceability is a tool that grew out of interest to develop better food safety practices regarding managing recalls and similar issues.
Our customers are looking for two main outcomes to protect and promote their brands.
Firstly, there are customers wanting to protect or deploy risk management practices to prevent food fraud or prevent exposure to it.
Secondly, brand owners are interested in understanding if food fraud exists in their supply chain, how big the problem is and the markets where it is most prevalent.
Once we determine the answers to these questions, we can then work on how to manage the issue.
We also help customers promote their brand based on their provenance or origin story. Using the footprint data, we can enable brands to build out a genuine story connecting the people and the place to their product, and are proud to say we have done this across several categories.