USDA takes new animal ID system on the road
Washington, D.C. -- Representatives of the United States Department of Agriculture are traveling across the country for public meetings on a new mandatory food animal identification program to be implemented sometime in 2012.
The USDA scheduled public meetings Aug. 18 in Madison, Wis.; Aug. 20 in Atlanta; and Aug. 24 in Pasco, Wash.
The agency expects to release a proposed rule in April 2011, followed by a public comment period. A final rule is expected 12 to 15 months later. The new system would be phased in after that.
Because specifics of the rule are still up in the air, the impact of the new system for food animal veterinarians and food producers is still unknown and could vary state to state, officials say.
The main impetus for the national animal identification program is focused on disease awareness, says Joelle Hayden of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
"Traceability does not prevent disease, but knowing where diseases and at-risk animals are is indispensable during an emergency response and for ongoing disease programs," she says.