Bpex will start carrying out spot checks on pork products later this year to ensure those labelled 'British' are in fact from Britain.

The move comes after research funded by Bpex found that the country of origin stated on retail packs of fresh pork, sausages, bacon, ham and gammon can be verified accurately using isotope technologies.

Last year a reference database of locations in the UK as well as Spain, Denmark, France, Germany and Holland was launched that samples of pork can be matched up against. Bpex plans to start collecting samples for isotope testing in late 2010/early 2011 and will put aside an annual budget for the tests. Head of marketing Chris Lamb said the tests would increase confidence in the supply chain that processors were using labels correctly.

Isotope testing is not limited to pork and could be used to test other foods.