New livestock traceability system to be implemented in 2019
It’s been announced that DEFRA is to go ahead with the development of a new Livestock Information Service in partnership with industry.
The new service, the making of which has been described as a “landmark decision”, will be rolled-out in 2019 and will provide the means to identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs throughout their whole lifecycle. Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, announced the news.
The project began in 2014 and grew out of an industry meeting called by the then chairman of EBLEX (English Beef and Lamb Executive) Norfolk farmer John Cross and the EBLEX team headed up by Nick Allen.
It started life as the Livestock Industry Data Exchange Hub and, at that point, was primarily developed for the beef and lamb sector. It was recognised that the existing system, which relied on several un-connected animal identification and tracking services, was no longer fit for purpose and made true ‘farm to fork’ traceability difficult, if not ‘impossible’.
The group’s solution was to develop a centralised, fully digital and near real-time system of data sharing that would be capable of integrating with the entire supply chain.
In February 2017 after the initial pilot scheme achieved proof of concept, DEFRA committed additional funding to the project and crucially expanded it to include multiple species.
The Livestock Information Service will reportedly bring huge benefits not just to the industry but to consumers for whom food safety, animal welfare and the origin of food are of increasing importance.
It will also be ‘invaluable’ to Government who will be better able to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.
Nick Allen, now chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “I’m very proud that the work John Cross and I started four years ago has now become a reality.
“The new Livestock Information Service will put Britain at the forefront of farm to fork traceability and cement our position as one of the world’s best food producing nations.”
BMPA is now looking forward to working with its members to help them get the most out of the Livestock Information Service once it is launched.