Full National Pig Traceability Becomes Mandatory

CANADA - On 1 July 2014, Canada’s mandatory national pig traceability system comes into force. The traceability system will require reporting on the movement of pigs between sites, with animal identification as one of the system’s components.
calendar icon 12 March 2014
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The necessary amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on 26 February. This follows extensive consultations with industry starting in 2012, although the very first national consultations on a pig traceability system date back to 2005.

The new regulations will bring national consistency in the pig sector by building on what is already in place in some provinces, such as Alberta's Swine Traceability System that was launched in 2011.

The traceability system will require reporting on the movement of pigs between sites. This additional information is meant to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to react quicker in the case of an animal disease outbreak.

Animal identification is already a component of the traceability system for pigs. However, pigs, with the exception of bred pigs, will not generally need to be identified by an approved tag when they are moved.

When pigs are transported from one site to another for purposes such as sale, breeding, exhibiting or slaughter, it will be required that both the sender and the recipient of the pigs report the movement of the pigs, within seven days, to the administrator of a central national database.

Pigs being transported directly for slaughter will need to be identified with an approved tag or a slap tattoo indicating a site number and not necessarily of a number unique to the pig.

As of 1 July 2014, the traceability regulations will cover all domestic pigs that are farmed for food production, including those that die on farm and cannot enter the food chain. One year later, on 1 July 2015, the regulations will be extended to also include farmed wild boars.

Under the new regulations, the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) is recognized as the administrator responsible for pigs and farmed wild boars. The administrator is the third party whose main responsibility is the management of livestock identification, movement and location information.

The administrator is also responsible for issuing identification numbers for approved tags (unique to a pig), for approved slap tattoos, and for other indicators used for export purposes (unique to a pig operation).

CPC currently manages PigTrace Canada, an industry voluntary pig traceability programme very similar to the new federally mandated system.

The costs associated with the implementation of the national pig traceability system will be shared between industry and government. The government contribution is limited to the development of an information database and related training and communication.

According to a federal government analysis, the cost of investment in the database was considered as an upfront cost incurred one year before the implementation of the regulations and estimated at C$1.17 million.

The ongoing maintenance costs are estimated at C$510,000 per year. The costs to the industry include animal identification tags, materials and related expenses, and were estimated at C$1.55 million per year, of which the compliance cost represents C$1.27 million per year and the administrative costs C$270,000 annually.

According to the same government analysis, potential quantifiable benefits from the new traceability system are estimated to occur when animal disease outbreak costs can be reduced. Estimates from two independent outbreak simulations indicate that the net economic impact of a major animal disease outbreak, such as foot-and-mouth disease, in Canada would be at least C$15.7 billion.

With a traceability system in place at the time of the outbreak, these costs are conservatively estimated to be reduced by C$6.1 billion. In addition, unquantifiable benefits of traceability include improvements to consumer confidence in domestic meat products, enhanced human health and food safety, domestic supply chain efficiencies, added protection from bio-security threats, and a verifiable means of confirming animal and product authenticity, origin, compliance with international traceability guidelines and standards, and other credence attributes throughout the supply chain.

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