New partnership to verify origin of free-range eggs in Ireland, underpinning animal welfare claims

12 June 2019


Margarets Eggs, the Republic of Irelands largest dedicated free-range egg producer and packer, has signed a new partnership with Oritain, the product and supply chain traceability specialist.

The partnership, the first of any company in the Republic of Ireland to be Oritain certified, will see Oritain verifying the origin of Margaret’s Happily Free Range Eggs across several specially selected farms.

Press release: 12th June 2019

Margaret’s Eggs is an industry leader in ethical farming, guaranteeing consumers a maximum of 1,000 hens per hectare, compared to the EU standard for free-range farming of 2,500 hens per hectare. Margaret’s Eggs and Oritain started working together last year, developing a programme to protect the integrity of their eggs and high animal welfare standards.

Global mislabelling and food fraud scandals damage consumer trust and increase cynicism over claims of provenance and product integrity. Industry quality standards such as the Sustainable Egg Assurance Scheme look to address these issues and highlight product identification and traceability as key requirements. Now, Oritain’s innovative scientific method will provide independent verification that Margaret’s Happily Free Range Eggs have been produced on farms that adhere to the highest possible standard of animal welfare, reassuring customers that those exact standards make their way all the way to the kitchen table.

Oritain operates globally, specialising in the traceability of natural products. Oritain’s technology is derived from forensic science, analysing intrinsic properties of products that are unique to the environment in which they are grown. When applied to Margaret’s Happily Free Range Eggs, Oritain will be able to trace the eggs back to the exact farm they came from through the unique ‘fingerprint’ of each farm, which cannot be produced any other way.

Grant Cochrane, CEO of Oritain, said “Recent food scandals have caused a global crisis of trust in the food we eat. Companies are searching for solutions to protect the integrity of products and, ultimately, their relationship with customers. Each egg has an intrinsic chemical fingerprint that can tell Oritain where it has come from, which cannot be altered or counterfeited.

“Margaret’s is using Oritain’s services to independently verify the provenance and integrity of its eggs. By tracing the origin of the eggs, we can assure Margaret’s customers that its eggs are produced to the highest standards of animal welfare.”

Margaret Farrelly, Margaret’s Happily Free-Range Eggs:

“Since we began our business over 30 years ago, our growing family of farmers have been 100% dedicated free range, passionate about keeping hens, caring for the land and producing eggs the right way. This care and attention extends to all aspects of our business, from clear labelling and transparency to delivering consumer peace of mind when it comes to traceability back to our farms. Our relationship with Oritain began some time ago but the announcement couldn’t be more timely. The appetite for consumer reassurance in traceability is growing. We are constantly striving to be leaders in our fields, to push industry standards even higher and lead the way in tackling the problem of food fraud. “

Oritain works globally to secure supply chains from fraud and this partnership now expands the use of Oritain’s forensic traceability, throughout the food industry, into Ireland. Oritain also works with Foodbuy, a leading food procurement organisation in the UK, to independently verify its core suppliers of red meat, fish and seafood.

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