National Hog ID and Traceability System Q&A

ONTARIO - Ontario Pork and the Canadian Pork Council hold a Question and Answers Seminar on National Hog ID and Traceability System.
calendar icon 27 October 2006
clock icon 5 minute read
Information provided courtesy Ontario Pork Ontario Pork Logo

1. Why does the Canadian hog industry need a National Hog ID and Traceability system?

Currently, more than half of Canada's pork is exported. It has been estimated that a foreign animal disease outbreak in Canada, such as foot-and-mouth disease, could cost as much as $45 billion.

A National Hog ID and Traceability system will:
a) help minimize the impacts of a foreign animal disease outbreak or a food safety crisis by reducing response time;
b) reinforce our domestic and export market access by responding to customer preference for traceability, and;
c) improve the competitiveness of our industry.

2. What will the Canadian Hog ID and Traceability system look like?

A National Hog ID and Traceability system will contain:
1. A livestock premises registry;
2. A national tattoo numbering registry for hogs going to slaughter;
3. A national hog ID and movement reporting system.

3. What is a premises?

A premises is a parcel of land defined by a legal land description which allows for an accurate record of the location. A national premises registry may have information on the property ownership and the type of livestock species on the property. A single premises will have one identification number regardless of livestock types on the property.

4. What does this mean for Ontario hog producers?

Beginning this fall, Ontario Pork will be launching the tattooing and premises identification program to assist with tracking swine movement between birth and processing in the province. All premises on which farmed livestock are kept, assembled or disposed of will be registered as part of a mandatory Canada-wide premise identification plan, and will receive a unique premises identification number.

5. How will the national tattooing system work?

New national five character tattoos will be linked to the premises. Current tattoos in Ontario that are linked to the producer number will be phased out. A national five-character tattoo numbering classification will be adopted for all hogs marketed, with the last number of each tattoo representing the province. Tattoos issued in Ontario will end in either a 5 or 7. Beginning in November, Ontario Pork will be contacting producers to verify premises information and to allocate new tattoo numbers. Ontario Pork will assign each premises one or more unique tattoo numbers. The process of premises registration and tattoo allocation will be completed over the coming months.

6. Can I have more than one tattoo number for each premises?

Yes, when you are contacted for registration, you can request more than one tattoo number for your premises.

7. Why is it important to have my tattoo linked to my premises?

In the event of a food safety crisis, it will be important to link any affected animals to their barn of origin. This will allow for a more rapid and precise response if containment of a control area is required.

8. Can I use my tattoo number for all my barns?

Yes, as long as they are on the same premises or parcel of land. If a barn is located on another property, then a different five-character national tattoo number will be assigned.

9. What happens if I change my barn location?

If you move your production to another location, the tattoo number(s) linked to your old premises will be retired for a period of time. Your new location will be assigned new tattoo number(s) linked to the new premises

10. What are the other provinces doing?

Each provincial pork organization is responsible for registering premises and issuing, allocating and managing all tattoo numbers for their province.

11. Why is this information necessary?

In the event of a crisis, the Health of Animals Act states that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) may use this system to manage and coordinate their emergency response plan.

12. How will my information be protected?

Ontario Pork is aware of the personal nature of this information and privacy issues will be strictly monitored. Ontario Pork's Privacy Statement is available at

13. How will compliance be ensured?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), in conjunction with industry, will develop the necessary compliance measures, in the form of regulations, to ensure the future integrity of the hog identification and traceability system. Once the National Hog ID and Traceability program is in place, all hogs will require a national five-character tattoo in order to be marketed.

14. Who will pay for this program?

Ontario Pork is conscious of cost, and will be providing producers with their new tattoo digits as part of their registration package. Tattoo hammers are the responsibility of the producer.

15. Who do I contact for more information?

For more information about the National Hog Identification and Traceability system, please contact Tim Metzger, Ontario Pork Project Deployment Manager, at 1-877-668-7675 or visit

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