June 17, 2010

Effective July 1, all Canadian cattle must be tagged with an approved radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag prior to movement from their current location or farm of origin. These tags will replace the bar-coded dangle tags.

“A strong traceability system will help Canadian producers get the premium prices their top-quality products deserve around the world,” says Ag Minister Gerry Ritz. “With RFID technology, we’ll be better able to trace an animal, which is not only important to human and animal welfare but also key to the sustainability of the Canadian livestock industry as a whole.”

Darcy Eddleston, Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) chair, says CCIA worked with government to move forward on traceability and believes delisting the bar-coded tag will advance traceability initiatives. “Although this change may be an additional one-time process for some producers, the ability to easily capture information from the RFID tags will help all producers in the long run,” Eddleston says.

“RFID technology is critical to advancing the traceability system and maintaining the speed of commerce that our producers require to remain competitive in the marketplace,” adds Travis Toews, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president. “The delisting of bar code tags is an important step in enhancing our national ID and traceability system.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces national ID and movement reporting requirements for cattle and bison under the authority of the Health of Animals Regulations. For more info on Canada’s livestock ID systems, or assistance cross-referencing data in the Canadian Livestock Tracking System, visit www.canadaid.ca. For more on traceability in Canada, visit www.inspection.gc.ca.