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The Development of Methods to Determine the Geographical Origin of Poultry


Although labelling of country of origin is not currently mandatory (unless failure to do so would mislead the consumer), it is being used progressively more on food packaging, and consumers in the UK are increasingly interested in the geographical origin of foods. The reasons for this vary from (a) patriotism, (b) decreased confidence in the quality and safety of products produced outside their local region, country or the EU or (c) concern about animal welfare and 'environmentally friendly' production methods.

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The objective of this project is to develop analytical methods to determine the geographical origin of poultry. These will be based upon meteorological and isogeochemical parameters of the production area and will use a combination of multi-element and multi-isotopic techniques.
Measurement of stable isotopes (13C/12C, 15N/14N, 18O/16O, 34S/32S, 87Sr/86Sr) and large range of macro (including Al, Ca, Mg, P, Na and K), micro (e.g. Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu and Zn) and trace (e.g. Sr, Mo, Cd, Pb and the Rare Earths) elements in the soil, climate and the composition of the locally produced poultry will be determined.
The data obtained will then be correlated with isotopic and geochemical maps generated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the British Geological Survey (BGS), respectively.
Ultimately, this research will demonstrate whether it is possible to determine the geographical origin of chicken without the requirement for time-consuming and expensive database compilation.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="; target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.

Institute of Food Research, UK
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