Victorian traceability systems paying off

Author: Marnie Campbell, Agriculture Victoria

Victoria has long maintained a global reputation for leadership in livestock identification.

People who enjoy red meat and dairy products that Victoria produces, trust that these products are safe to eat, that they have been ethically produced and are of a high quality. This trust has been earned over time and is the result of the foresight, leadership and commitment of our livestock industries with the development of robust, verifiable systems for identifying and tracking cattle, sheep, goats and pigs under the banner of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).

Those working within the Victorian livestock supply chain should be congratulated for their efforts during the implementation of the electronic tag-based NLIS (Sheep & Goats) system. Victoria’s system is delivering excellent traceability as demonstrated by the 2020 SAFEMEAT sheep traceability evaluation that showed that electronically tagged sheep were 99 per cent traceable, compared to 70 per cent traceable for interstate sheep arriving in Victoria for processing that had been visually tagged. These findings are significant because the study was conducted independently.

During November and December 2021, Victorian saleyards successfully scanned and recorded the movement of about one million electronically tagged sheep. At one Hamilton sale, more than 59,000 electronically tagged sheep were successfully scanned. This is an outstanding achievement.

In response to these findings, SAFEMEAT (the national body responsible for red meat industry traceability and product integrity policy) has acknowledged that the visual tag and mob-based system still operating in other states is unlikely to be effective in a disease emergency and has submitted a number of recommendations regarding the future of the NLIS (Sheep & Goats) to the states. Decisions in relation to these recommendations are expected to be announced during 2022.

A copy of the NLIS (Sheep & Goats) Standards – 2022 edition outlining in detail the obligations on supply chain participants is available on-line at NLIS sheep and goats.

If you have any questions in relation to the operation of Victoria’s NLIS (Sheep & Goats) system, please ring Agriculture Victoria’s NLIS Helpline on 1800 678779 during business hours or visit the NLIS sheep and goats page.

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022