USDA sets animal id numbers for U.S. livestock

by Editor
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reserving the use of animal identification numbers with the 840 prefix to only animals born in the U.S. The number 840 is the U.S. country code and appears at the beginning of all animal identification numbers issued in this country.

By reserving use of this number, producers who use the 840 animal identification numbering system will have a convenient and cost-effective method which documents the origin of their animals in the United States to packers for country of origin labelling (COOL). Packers can rely upon this information for their origin claims on products at retail, in accordance with COOL.

With this interim rule, animal identification numbers with the 840 prefix will be used only on animals born in the United States. In the event of a disease outbreak, this will enable USDA to use the animal identification number to more quickly determine the animal's origin.

Also, any imported animal that loses its country of origin identification device cannot be retagged using an 840 animal identification number. These animals can be retagged only with an official identification device using a numbering system other than the 840 animal identification number.

Finally, this interim rule makes it unlawful to remove any official animal identification device, including those applied in other countries and officials recognized by APHIS for animals entering the United States. These devices are essential for the complete and proper traceability of imported animals.

This interim rule is necessary to enhance animal traceback capabilities for both domestic and imported livestock as well as better contain disease outbreaks.

This interim rule is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 18 Federal Register and becomes effective from publication.