British Beef Origin Project

Formerly known as Controlled Origin British Beef

Project number:                    7299

Lead contractor:                   IFR Norwich


Institute of Food Research, EBLEX, CSL, University of East Anglia, HCC, QMS

Start & end date:                   31 January 2008 to 31 January 2010


The Problem:

Consumers in the UK are increasingly interested in regional foods. The reasons for this vary from a) patriotism; b) decreased confidence in the quality and safety of food produced outside their local region or country; c) characteristic organoleptic or culinary qualities or d) concerns about food miles‘. Our objective is to use established techniques to augment an existing authentic beef database of multi-isotopic and multi-element measurements.  Inclusion of representative samples from England, Scotland and Wales will permit the regional origin of British Beef to be confirmed.


Project Aims:

To develop a database for verification of beef origin using multi-Isotope and multi-Element analysis.



The approach was to source beef samples from Wales and Scotland to supplement a database already held on English beef samples.  These were then analysed for isotopic ratios and trace elements.  Multivariate statistical approaches have been used to separate the regions of the UK.



The separation of regions was reasonably successful although the border areas present difficulties. Full results will be available when the final report is received.


Planned activity:

There is no specific plan for EBLEX to take this forward, although the database could be used to test if meat has been imported from South America for example.