Posted 27/06/2022

Western Australian based science technology company Source Certain International Limited (Source Certain) is providing its provenance science technology to the UK government as part of a project to help combat stolen Ukrainian grain.

The £1.5m project, funded by the UK government, has been greenlit after an investigation allegedly revealed Russian forces stealing and exporting Ukrainian grain to nearby countries including Turkey and is expected to run for three years.

“Russia, it appears, are stealing wheat from those stores and so what the UK government is doing is making available the technology that we’ve got to test the provenance of wheat,” said George Eustice, the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in an interview with Sky News.

“We’re working with other countries, including Australia, on this so that we can ensure that stolen Ukrainian wheat does not find a route to market,” he continued. 

Source Certain has delivered similar programs that enhance the security of agrifood supply chains in Australian seafood and horticulture industries.

“Europe and its export markets are facing the threat of weaponised food supply chains where the flow of essential food is stymied, cut off or passed off with mislabelled origin. We need to know where food is coming from to have trust in these systems,” said Cameron Scadding, Managing Director of Source Certain.  

Source Certain will analyse the chemical composition of Ukrainian grain samples, which are made up of trace elements, isotopes, chemicals and molecules. These markers come from the underlying geology, the soil in which plants grow and the water used and they can differ significantly even within short distances. 

Each sample and its corresponding location of origin will have a unique chemical fingerprint allocated to it, which will be held in a Provenance Database that will be used as a reference point when seeking verification of provenance for grain samples trying to enter the market.

“This work will verify the origin of Ukrainian grain – it also has the capacity to identify mislabelled Russian grain that is trying to bypass sanction and tariffs with a false country of origin claim,” says Scadding. 

Source Certain is highly experienced with these sorts of complex food-chain matters and look forward to supporting supply chains in ensuring that grain meets its origin claims.

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