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Compositional traceability - Origin fingerprints for Australian beef and lamb

Project start date: 23 March 2020
Project end date: 30 November 2020
Publication date: 02 December 2020
Livestock species: Sheep, Grain-fed Cattle, Grass-fed Cattle, Lamb
Relevant regions: National
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In response to issues of rising product fraud and increasing demands for traceability and authenticated provenance claims, an R&D project to validate and demonstrate Oritain's ability to distinguish Australian beef and lamb from meat produced in other countries was conducted.

'Origin Fingerprints' for Australian beef and lamb were developed through the chemical analyses of product from beef and lamb producing areas around Australia. In order to evaluate Oritain's capability to verify the origin of Australian beef and lamb, a external sample set of both Australian and international beef and lamb samples was tested.

The system was verified as producing a definition of Australian beef and lamb that is fit for purpose.


The main objective of this project were for Oritain to develop a fit-for-purpose 'Origin Fingerprint' for Australian beef and lamb.

Key findings

The project validates and demonstrates Oritain's ability to scientifically distinguish Australian beef and lamb from meat produced in other countries

Oritain was able to access a large number of abattoirs that provided samples with sufficient chain of custody to the location where an animal was reared before slaughter. By accessing a large number of abattoirs, Oritain was able to source samples from all major production areas in Australia with sufficient coverage of geographical variability.

Results of the external testing met the project objectives agreed and established a robust capability to verify Australian beef and lamb. The external validation simulated a real-life auditing scenario where a set of samples that has not been analysed was tested as blinds. This testing confirmed that Oritain has developed fit for purpose capability to verify origin of Australian beef and lamb with a high degree of certainty.

Benefits to industry

Counterfeit and substitution of Australian red meat in export markets with products from non-Australian origins is a substantial risk to the Australian red meat industry. Origin Fingerprints developed at country of origin level offer potential protection for all of industry stakeholders.

The red meat industry and its stakeholders are now able to test Australian beef and lamb products from any point in global supply chains to verify country of origin.

MLA action

MLA will utilise the validated and demonstrated fit for purpose capability for Australian beef and lamb to quantify, define, and proactively manage the anecdotally acknowledged fraud problem for 'Product of Australia' in global markets and supply chains.

MLA will support adoption of this technology by industry and determine the value that may accrue from authenticating product integrity through supply chains.

The technology may also be extended to other red meat products, such as goat, as well as exploring potential applications for origin verification of other animal-related products, such as leather.

More information

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Primary researcher: Oritain Pty Ltd