Defra launches new livestock service to bolster traceability

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a new Livestock Information Service to provide farmers and processors accurate information about animals and their movements.

Set to be operational from 2019, the new service will provide “the foundation for some of the best farm to fork traceability in the world when the UK leaves the EU”.

Identifying and tracking animal movements via electronic IDs (initially dairy cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats) also means that the industry and government will be better-placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

The announcement follows significant contributions from industry stakeholders over the last year through a partnership called the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG), which will help create and develop the new service.

“This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food,” said Mr Gove.

“NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.

“Working hand-in-hand with industry, we will design and implement a service that puts food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental enhancement at its core.”

NFU President Minette Batters added: “It’s essential that government and industry work together and this a great example of what we can achieve when we do.

“I feel that this is totally transformational, underpinning our reputation in producing some of the best meat and livestock products in the world. It’s a win for government, a win for team agriculture and, most of all, it’s a win for the consumer.”