Over a quarter of all pigmeat samples tested through the IFA’s pigmeat DNA testing programme last year did not come from Irish pigs, the association’s pig DNA database suggests.

Almost 40% of food service sector samples returned non-Irish DNA results in the IFA’s tests while only 3% of retailer samples showed up as non-Irish verified DNA.

The IFA has alleged that it identified some businesses which were advertising pigmeat as an Irish product but that these claims appear false when tested.

Its president Tim Cullinan said that it is time for the food service sector to catch up with retailers by replacing imported pigmeat with products from Irish farms.

Close the gap

“Irish foodservice is not supporting the Irish pigmeat sector. They must now come forward and close the gap on the benchmark which Irish retailers have set,” Cullinan commented.

Supermarket results show that 75% of samples were of Irish origin while only 63% of samples sourced from butchers were.

Some 45% of the tests carried out on typical breakfast items sold in the food service sector, like rashers and bacon, appear to be imported as they do not match Irish DNA data.

Marketing off the Irish pig’s back

The IFA will ramp up its testing efforts and has engaged with some pigmeat sellers on the findings, pig chair Roy Gallie stated.

“We have written to a number of businesses on the matter and have plans to further increase the testing over the coming weeks and months,” he said in response to the findings.

“While this is just year one verified testing, the results of the have confirmed our suspicions that the foodservice sector is not supportive of Irish product.

“Some results have identified cases where businesses advertise product as Irish, but when tested, this is proven to be false and this is hugely disappointing.

“These companies are marketing themselves off the back of the high standards of production which Irish pig farms hold, and for them to undermine that label is unacceptable.”