The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) is extending its use of isotope testing to processed egg to verify the country of origin and production system the eggs used came from.
Last May, the BEIC announced that it would be using the technology to check the traceability of its members' shell eggs. But a spokesman said it now had enough confidence in the system to add Lion Code registered processors to the testing scheme.
"Isotope testing is an exciting development and will further help to give food manufacturers the additional reassurance that they know they are getting what they've ordered," said Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion egg processors.
"The Lion Code of Practice for egg products already has a number of stringent processes in place to ensure full traceability. These include mass balance checks, additional auditing, a database of egg movements and on-farm marking.
"We also intend to make use of the new isotope technology to show that, with British Lion egg products, you know what you are getting – a product that is produced to the highest standards of food safety."
The new technology can indicate consistency with claimed country of origin and production system based on the feed and water the animal has consumed.
As traceability becomes more difficult once an egg is taken out of its shell, and with imports accounting for about one-third of egg product usage in the UK, this is a particularly important development for the food manufacturing and processing industry, said the BEIC.
Samples of eggs from all existing laying farms are already being taken when they are audited, and a random selection is tested each month.
This will enable a database to be established, which will be regularly renewed. Eggs and egg products will also be tested if an additional traceability check is required.
Last year, isotope testing undertaken by the British Pig Executive exposed pork in a Tesco supermarket labelled as British but was actually from the Netherlands.
Source: Poultry World