Markers for meat provenance and authenticity with an account of its defining factors and quality characteristics – a review

Erasmus, Sara Wilhelmina; Sohaib, Muhammad; Revilla, Isabel; Vivar-Quintana, Ana María; Giancoli, Sophia Jennie


Provenance is becoming increasingly important in meat supply chains as it lends products higher perceived quality. However, its precise definition and interpretation along with its associated characteristics factors have remained somewhat elusive. This review meticulously defines meat provenance while dissecting the essential factors and associated quality attributes that constitute its essence and are subsequently employed to establish pertinent markers for provenance. Meat provenance emerges as a multi-dimensional construct stemming from the adept management of a constellation of factors relating to geographical origin, farm production system, traceability, and authenticity. Through intricate interactions, these factors unveil innate originality that not only forges a distinct reputation but also imparts a unique typicity to the meat product. Gaining insights into a meat product's provenance becomes attainable by scrutinizing its pertinent composition and organoleptic quality traits. Trace elements and stable isotopes stand out as provenance markers, forging a direct connection to both geographical origin and dietary sources. While somewhat less direct in linkage, other markers such as plant biomarkers, fatty acid composition, pH levels, flavour and aromatic compounds along with organoleptic characteristics contribute to the overall understanding of provenance. Additionally, the identification of animal species and breeds serves as key markers, particularly in the context of protected geographical indications. The study findings are useful for the various stakeholders of how the information for meat provenance can be linked with intrinsic and extrinsic factors for meat quality and protecting the integrity of the supply chain with special reference to traceability and authenticity.