Members of the Swine Identification Implementation Task Force and pork industry representatives provided an update on the Swine ID Plan to pork producers on March 2 at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo.
"It only takes one infected pig to infect the whole industry," says Joy Philippi, a producer from Bruning, Neb. and member of the task force. "In the event of a discovery of a catastrophic disease, I, as a pork producer, want to make sure everything possible is being done to contain the disease and prevent it from infecting my herd."
Using the current ID system as a base and the National Animal Identification System, guidelines, the industry is working to implement national swine-specific standards for ID. The National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council are part of this Swine ID Implementation Task Force. The task force - made up of pork producers, swine health officials, packer/processors and representatives from other segments of the industry - will make decisions regarding implementation strategies of swine ID standards.
"This is to protect animal health," says Jim Niewold, a producer from Loda, Ill. and member of the task force. "It is not a food safety issue. The system that is under development is not completely new; the industry has been able to trace animals to origin since the 1980s."
The swine identification plan has three phases of implementation. The first is premises identification, which is the foundation of the system. Premises ID will enable state and federal animal health officials to respond rapidly and effectively to animal-health emergencies. A premises ID is a seven-character and unique identifier for a production site. Registering for a premises ID is done at the state level. The second phase is group/lot and individual animal ID, and the third phase is recording animal movements.
"We recognize that there are three issues to implementing a comprehensive plan," says Niewold. "Right now, the producers on the Swine ID Implementation Task Force have focused on the implementation of a program that satisfies USDA's requirement of 48-hour traceback."
For more information on how to register a premises, go online at animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/subjects/premise_id/index.shtml or contact a local farm service agency, state extension office, state department of agriculture or the National Pork Board Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-PORK.