The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has launched a farmer-led DNA testing programme of pork meat, which will focus on the catering and hospitality sector.
IFA pig committee chair Roy Gallie said: “We are asking each farmer to get one sample of pigmeat analysed and then each of you to pay for the single analysis, the cost [of which] will be €35.
“Focus on areas of food service; hotels, restaurants, filling stations, delis, butchers, prisons, hospitals, B&Bs,” he requested.
To take part in the programme, the IFA has asked:
1. Get a single sample of pork/bacon/ham - for example, one rasher, one slice of ham or one bit of a pork chop.
2. Wrap well in Clingfilm, place it in a zip-lock bag and put in an envelope.
3. The envelope should include a cheque made out to the IFA for €35.
Include the following details in the envelope:
4. A postal address will be provided by emailing the IFA secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: If there is packaging with the product, for example prepacked sandwiches, post the packaging as well to ensure the information is passed on for the database, or take pictures of the packaging and send on.
The IFA will store the samples, catalogue them and submit for testing in November. Only samples with a cheque included will be tested. The last day for posting is Monday 1 November 2021.
The IFA has said it will be following up with a more in-depth sampling to hit the source of unassigned pigmeat and to ask the catering establishments to insist on Irish for their customers.
“This is an area of testing that we wish to include more of going forward and will use the results to guide us in our testing strategy for the end of this year and 2022,” said Gallie.
The IFA has been working with Identigen over the past few weeks to plan the DNA testing of pork products used in the catering trade nationwide over the coming weeks.