26 April 1996

Now its two tags – plus a passport

MALE and female cattle born after Jun 1, 1996 will have to carry both a metal and plastic tag.

These are current MAFF proposals aimed at improving traceability within the beef food chain. An official announcement is expected early next week.

Both tags will show the same official MAFF number. And it is proposed a passport is issued with each set of tags. It will be an offence to market stock, born after Jun 1, without that passport.

Each document will record: owner, address, holding number, herd number, and animal identity.

The onus is then on the producer to add details, such as birth, sex, breed, sire and dam identity, when each calf is born and tagged. The passport should then be updated to record every holding on which that animal has been held.

Verified records

Animals whose records cannot be verified by local vet inspectors will not be issued with a passport and unable to enter the food chain.

Although MAFF and tag manufacturers are keen to implement the scheme quickly, there is concern the deadline will not be met.

"Tag stocks are not a problem, but we are concerned there may be problems accessing MAFFs eartag allocation system and securing double tag allocation. MAFF is aware of this and is holding industry meetings," said Ritchey Taggs Kim Dingle.

Roland Kershaw-Dalby, secretary to the National Cattle Association, agrees: "Double tagging will reduce tag loss and with a passport will make it more difficult to commit fraud. Retailers are welcoming the idea for it provides traceability." &#42