World’s first national DNA database for pigs to be used by SuperValu

SuperValu is to become the first retailer in Ireland to use the world’s first national DNA database for pigs, which will allow it to provide a guarantee to consumers that all of its bacon is Irish.

Recognising potential weaknesses in paper based traceability systems discovered after the pigmeat dioxin crisis, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) partnered with IdentiGen in Ireland to build the DNA TraceBack system for boars.

All Irish breeding boars are DNA tagged, which is then used to generate a DNA-ID, a unique code which identifies the animal, its offspring and subsequently all produce from these animals.

The programme now forms part of the Bord Bia quality assurance programme, and both Bord Bia and IFA collect and test samples from SuperValu products on a monthly basis to ensure compliance with country of origin labeling.

Martin Kelleher, managing director SuperValu, said: “This system is a first for the Irish food industry and provides SuperValu with a unique point of difference.

“This demonstrates the real partnership between us, our supplier [Oliver Carty] and the Irish farming community.”

Chairman of the IFA national pigs and pigmeat committee, Pat O’Flaherty said: “The idea behind this system is to increase the sales of Irish product in the domestic and export markets by providing the consumer with a cast-iron guarantee, backed by science, that the product is of Irish origin.”

Sorcha Corcoran