USDA continues development of national ID plan

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During last week’s National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s annual conference in Denver, Neil Hammerschmidt, program manager of animal identification at USDA/APHIS Veterinary Services, provided an update on the agency’s Framework for Animal Disease Traceability.

USDA currently is reviewing thousands of public comments, and probably won’t issue the final rule until later this year, so Hammerschmidt was unable to address some specific details. He did, however, outline some of the program standards and options.

Acknowledging that cost of compliance has been a source of contention with previous plans, Hammerschmidt says the current framework intends to minimize producer costs and reporting requirements.

A primary goal of the program is to streamline the process of tracing animals to their point of origin. Premises identification numbers (PIN) have been available to producers, on a voluntary basis in most cases, for several years. Some form of location identifier will presumably become mandatory with the final rule. USDA plans to offer states and tribes two options:

Premises Identification Numbers -- States and Tribes may elect to use the PIN in their traceability system. The standardized PIN, obtained through the APHIS PIN allocator, consists of seven alphanumeric characters. States have the option use the State’s postal abbreviation as the first two of the seven characters in the PIN, such as OH341T4 for an Ohio location. Tribes may also have codes reserved for use with PINs they administer.

Location Identification Numbers (LID) -- LIDs are administered through a State’s or Tribe’s internal system. Hammerschmidt says the LID system will require less information from the user, with producers needing to enter just their physical address. Other fields will be voluntary. The address associated with the LID will remain in the state database, with just the LID submitted to APHIS.

Official individual animal identification numbers (AIN), or “840 tags,” will be available through a variety of suppliers. They will include the official U.S. Shield and a 15-digit code beginning with the U.S. country code – 840. The tags will remain with each animal through slaughter. Packers will correlate the AIN with the carcass and associated products, and make the tags available to APHIS, and APHIS will “retire” the AIN from slaughtered animals.

Hammerschmidt says APHIS/VS will, for the next two years, collect data to establish a baseline of the system’s performance and capabilities, for evaluation of its progress in subsequent years.

The proposed rule and program standards are available online from USDA/APHIS.

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Tx  |  April, 02, 2012 at 09:25 AM

I've been telling people for years that NAIS was not about "disease tracking" as it was originally proposed and also that the data would not be private. This article confirms it. Look who gets to "correlate the AIN with the carcass and associated products" - packers. You can bet that packers are not going to use the data only for disease tracking. So an animal disease is not going to be detected until an animal gets to a packer? They've perverted the system into a food safety tool and who knows what else system, and not a disease tracking system as it was purposed. In the meantime, animals will be dying and spreading disease around the country without having gone to the packer. I've never seen ANY type of tag last the lifetime of a cow or bull in range conditions. They'll have to trace mine by firebrand which does last the lifetime of the animal.

PA  |  April, 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM

ADT is NAIS lite. The purpose is to get their foot in the door (it was slammed shut on NAIS), and then ramp up the requirements later. Will the location info be used in a similar way that Michigan's Dep't of Natural Resources (which is only supposed to deal with wildlife) intends to find privately owned swine so they can eradicate them as an "invasive" species?

WI  |  April, 03, 2012 at 03:48 PM

Livestock producers must prove locaton of origin, but Obama can't meet a constitutional reguirement to do so. That's equal protection under the law?

Gouda Lady    
April, 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Backyard chicken owners and small farmers (who CAN'T swallow this kind of cost-per-animal) will have the same requirements put on them as massive stockyards. This in NOT about safety, it's about control! This is another nail in the coffin of our freedoms and another trophy for the liberals who want to control every aspect of our lives. (Could it also be from some pressure from the folks who don't want us to eat meat? - Just throwing that out there too.)


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