Following a potential case of mislabelling of imported beef as Welsh, widely reported on social media this week, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has taken immediate action to address the issue.
HCC liaised with local Trading Standards officers in Anglesey and visited relevant premises on Monday 18 October to investigate.
During the investigation labelling errors were identified which would account for beef of Australian origin being mistakenly contained in packaging with the PGI Welsh Beef label.
In order to qualify and be labelled as Welsh Beef, the cattle must have been born and reared in Wales, be fully traceable, and be processed in a HCC-approved facility which is subject to regular audits.
HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells said, “We take any potential case of mislabelling meat very seriously, although it is thankfully rare. The Welsh red meat brands are vital to our farmers and processors, and their integrity is of paramount importance.
“In this instance a packaging error was identified and we are reassured that measures have been put in place to prevent a recurrence. We continue to work closely with Trading Standards officers, who are the responsible authority for enforcing food labelling legislation.
“We continue to be vigilant and we thank members of the public for bringing issues to our attention.
“The Welsh red meat sector has traceability systems second to none. This includes a full audit system for processors who are within the PGI scheme for both beef and lamb. Also, in recent years, we have added an additional level of forensic science to the process. Using this award-winning technology, we can spot-check meat at any stage in the supply chain and identify with an extremely high degree of accuracy if the animal was born and reared in Wales.”
The technology which has provided an additional layer of reassurance to the already strong traceability behind Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef is provided by product origin specialists Oritain. Further information is available here: https://meatpromotion.wales/en/about/what-we-do/pgi-certification/world-first-for-welsh-lamb-through-origin-fingerprint-technology