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Protecting consumer choice: ensuring the provenance of artisan foods produced on the island of Irela

Project Reference: 04-2013

Status: Completed

Commencement Date: September, 2013

Project Duration: 15 months


This project was a technology viability study that set out to investigate the feasibility of applying specific analytical methodologies for isotopic and elemental analysis for identifying the provenance of artisan foodstuffs. Specifically, the research investigated if artisan cheeses labeled as produced on the island of Ireland could be described as such. The strategy pursued generated a considerable quantity of baseline analytical data on the elemental and isotopic composition of island of Ireland artisanal cheese as well as a selection of artisanal cheeses from Great Britain and mainland Europe.

While it was not possible to confirm the geographic provenance of island of Ireland artisanal cheeses with 100% accuracy, nonetheless trends in some of the data, especially the isotope data, suggest the possibility of effective segregation of island of Ireland from mainland European, if not Great Britain, cheeses. Therefore the analytical methodologies investigated have been scoped out for this purpose and can now be taken forward and applied in more focused investigations involving artisan cheeses and other foods produced on the island of Ireland. A number of key recommendations have been made in this regard.

Principal Contractor(s):

Prof Gerard Downey, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown,Dublin


Prof Chris Elliott, Queen’s University Belfast



Provenance confirmation of farmhouse cheeses produced on the island of Ireland

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