Study on geographic origin of foods

Last updated:
8 January 2014
The Food Standards Agency, in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is carrying out a study to look at the geographic origin of foods claiming to be from the UK.

About the study

Food samples from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be analysed using a technique known as stable isotope ratio analysis.

The aims of the study are to:

  • check the accuracy of current origin claims on food labels to ensure consumers can be confident that food labelled as from the UK is what it claims to be
  • gain experience of using stable isotope analysis to assess where food comes from

Samples of food have been taken from retail, wholesale and food service outlets. In total, more than 100 samples are being tested, and comprise beef (including burgers), pork, lamb, tomatoes, apple juice and honey.

Stable isotope analysis is a screening method that acts as a useful indicator of potential fraudulent activity. Any results that suggest a problem will be followed up with an audit of traceability. The traceability audit should be completed by April 2014 and the full report of the study will be published.