Read the story in the Mail and Guardian below and view the diagram showing how the sensory tests of Karoo Lamb are indeed significantly different from other lamb producing regions in South Africa. The diagram shows that lamb from the Ruens (RU) and Free State (FS) associate with oily, barnyard/kraal, sheep wool, savoury/spicy and mutton-like attributes, as well as the increase in shear force and residue. On the contrary, CK, NK, HK/LO and KV (all regions in the Bo-Karoo such as Carnarvon, De Aar, Loeriesfontein, Williston, Knersvlakte) associate with herbaceous, savoury/spicy, lamblike, as well as an increase in tenderness, with CK, NK, HK/LO and KV grouped closely. The overlapping of treatments (NK, HK/LO and KV) indicates that they were very similar in terms of sensory and instrumental meat quality and barely distinguishable. When the division of the left quadrants (along PC2) are taken into consideration, it is evident that the separation of HK/CAL (Hantam Karoo/Calvinia) from the other treatments is driven by its strong association with herbaceous, gamey, sheep wool and mutton-like attributes. The other treatments show less association with these and more with lamb-like attributes, tenderness, initial juiciness and sustained juiciness.
The study confirms again it is important that people buying Karoo Lamb make sure that is from certified farms and abattoirs which are all located in the regions identified as “true” Karoo. The results also confirm that the reputation and geographical link exists and therefore the protection of Karoo lamb as a South African Geographical Indication is indeed warranted. The EU confirmed this in June 2016 when the free trade agreement between the EU and SACU was signed.