Identifying cattle for disease control purposes

A cattle passport is required for each animal.  It is necessary to submit passport applications to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). There are 27 days in which to register the birth of a calf and apply for its passport. Appeals against refused passport applications may be supported by a DNA test on application to the BCMS.

A passport application must be submitted within seven days of the birth of bison calves, It is possible to defer their tagging for up to nine months if they are not moved from their holding of birth, or separate them from their dam.

There is a duty on those who keep cattle to;

  • hold a valid licence to move cattle between holdings and from a holding to market.
  • inspect any cattle being moved for signs of foot and mouth disease. If any evidence of the disease is found it must immediately be notified to the Divisional Veterinary Manager of the local Animal Health Divisional Office. If evidence of disease is found, the cattle movement licence is invalid, and it is not permissible to move any animal kept on the premises of departure.
  • tag bovine animals and to notify bovine births, movements and deaths to the Cattle Tracing System.

Labeling beef

All Beef suppliers must label all beef and have a traceability system in place. Anyone who slaughters, supplies or sells fresh and/or frozen beef (including veal) in any part of the supply chain, must have a traceability system in place so that beef can be traced back to the animal or group of animals from which it came.

All beef must be labelled with a traceability reference number or code that links the meat and the animal or group of animals from which it came

  • the words “Slaughtered in: [name of country]”
  • the approval number(s) of the slaughterhouse(s) where the animals were slaughtered
  • the words “Cutting in: [name of country where cutting plant(s) located]”
  • the approval number(s) of the cutting/deboning plant(s)
  • the name of the country of birth of the animals
  • the name of the country in which the animals were raised

Beef that that has not been pre-wrapped, need not be labelled individually if the compulsory information is on display in the shop. Other information about the origin, characteristics or production methods of the beef requires prior approval

Movement of livestock

The general movement licence for cattle, sheep, pigs, goats or deer is  detailed on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website. The requirements include rules on correct identification, animal welfare, biosecurity, standstill, and recording movement.

Those moving livestock should ensure they are aware of any additional current disease controls/conditions which must also be adhered to.

Appropriate movement documents must accompany animals being moved and these must be retained for a set amount of time. The following movement documents should be used:

  • AML1 form for sheep and goats
  • AML2 for pigs and a passport for cattle
  • AML 24 for deer

Cattle movements must be notified to the British Cattle Movement Service within three days of the movement taking place.

Sheep, goat and pig movement documents must be sent to local authorities within three days of the movement.

Recording and identifying pigs

Before pigs under one year of age are moved, to slaughter or to any type of market, or for intra-community trade they must be permanently identified with eartags, tattoos or slapmarks bearing the farmer’s  Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) herdmark. If the pigs are being sent to slaughter, the eartags must be able to withstand slaughter and carcase processing.

A permanent eartag must be of a design that will remain attached to the pig without being harmful to it. It must also be:

  • made of metal or plastic or a combination of both
  • stamped or printed – not hand-written
  • tamper-resistant
  • easy to read during the pig’s lifetime
  • incapable of re-use
  • able to withstand slaughter and carcase processing

All other rules regarding pig identification and tracing  and movements remain in force. For example, there are obligations to :

  • register with Defra
  • notify Defra of any outbreak of notifiable diseases
  • meet all licensing requirements – eg a general licence to move pigs under the Disease Control (England) Order 2003
  • observe the various standstill requirements on premises – for pigs and other animals – arising from the arrival of new pigs

Pig movements must be accompanied by a completed AML2 movement document signed by the keeper to be provided by the seller of the animals. The recipients of the animals must use the appropriate copy to notify their local authority of the movement
within three days.

Handling animal by-products

Premises which handle animal by-products must apply for approval in order to:

  • treat animal by-products and/or catering waste in composting or biogas plants
  • incinerate animal by-products
  • operate an intermediate plant to handle animal by-products
  • operate a pet food plant
  • operate a plant handling animal by-products
  • process or render animal by-products
  • operate a storage plant for products processed from animal by-products

A farmer must not feed unprocessed animal by-products or catering waste to farmed animals.

There are controls on how to collect, transport, store, handle, process or dispose of animal by-products.  Proper records are required. Any transport of animal by-products must be accompanied with the appropriate commercial documents.

Animal by-products are divided into three categories based on risk:

  • Category 1 material represents very high risk material, ie animals suspected or confirmed as being infected by a TSE, animals killed in the context of TSE controls, Specified Risk Material or international catering waste
  • Category 2 material represents high risk material, ie condemned meat, fallen stock, manure and digestive tract content
  • Category 3 material is the lowest risk category and includes former foodstuffs of animal origin, usually raw meat and raw fish, from food manufacturers and food retailers

All categories of material must be disposed of as prescribed. Category One material must be disposed of by rendering or incineration. Category Two and Category Three material may, in addition, go for other uses prescribed in the regulation.

Food hygiene

Any person or business which undertakes the production, processing or the distribution of food, must be registered with the local food authority.  If a farmer makes or handles products of animal origin in England, he might need to get approval from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) or the local food authority and put an identification mark on products.

Producers, processors and distributors of food (including growing, rearing or hunting) will have to do some or all of the following, depending on the type of food business:

  • meet microbiological requirements
  • meet temperature control requirements
  • maintain the cold chain
  • use sampling and analysis
  • ensure premises and equipment are adequate
  • ensure raw materials are of acceptable quality
  • handle, control, store and dispose of food waste appropriately
  • control pests
  • use proper cleaning and disinfection procedures
  • make sure staff maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness and wear suitable and protective clothing
  • make sure that any staff handling food are in good health and have been trained on health risks
  • make sure that staff are trained and supervised based on these principles
  • identify food safety hazards
  • identify the critical control points for hazard reduction
  • set limits for acceptability
  • put in place procedures to monitor critical control points
  • make changes when monitoring shows a problem at a critical control point
  • have regular procedures to verify effective working
  • keep documents and records to show measures are effective
  • show documents to your local authority if required

Animal feed and additives

Manufactures and suppliers of animal feed (including pet food) must label it to specify the nature or substance of the product and its ingredients. For farmed livestock feed the specific ingredient name is required with an indication for compound feeds of the percentage weight of each ingredient. Other information required on the label includes the business name, a business contact address and the batch number.

Feed must contain only those additives which have been authorised for feed use by the European Union. They must adhere to specified conditions. Any feed business wishing to supply or add a feed additive not on the authorised list must apply to the European Food Safety Authority for approval. The additive will only be authorised if the business can demonstrate its safety, quality and efficacy for animal and human health and the environment.

The Regulations also contain controls on the levels of various naturally occurring contaminants which may be present in feed, and on the permitted dietetic claims which may be made for certain feed products.

Limiting residues in animals and animal products

If animals are kept and/or animal meat or products are sold for human consumption, the farmer must:

  • use only authorised veterinary medicinal products
  • follow the instructions for use, unless under veterinary direction
  • update medicines records whenever medicines are used on the farm
  • follow the withdrawal periods as laid out in each product’s instructions for use, or veterinary prescription
  • not possess or administer unauthorised substances
  • not keep or slaughter animals that have received unauthorised substances or possess animal products for human consumption that have been produced from such animals

Animals or products may be inspected and samples taken at any time. DELFA run a surveillance programme for residues of veterinary medicines and unauthorised

Marking eggs and registering egg farms

A Farmer must register with the Egg Marketing Inspectorate (EMI) if he has a site containing 350 or more laying hens.

A distinguishing number is issued for use when identifying the eggs for sale.

The details to be supplied to the EMI are:

  • the name and address of the establishment
  • the farming method or methods of operating (organic, free range, barn or caged)
  • the maximum capacity of the establishment for each farming method operated, stated as the maximum number of laying hens present at one time for that farming method
  • the name and address of the keeper
  • the registration number of each establishment, where the keeper is the owner or keeper of any other registered establishment

If the owner is different from the keeper, the EMI must be supplied with:

  • the name and address of the owner
  • the registration number of each establishment, where the owner is the owner or keeper of any other registered establishment

The EMI must be notified of any changes to your registration details within 28 days.

Feeding livestock

Under new Feed Hygiene Regulation (EC) No. 183/2005 virtually all existing feed businesses – including feed manufacturers, importers, hauliers, storage businesses, livestock farms and arable farms that grow or sell crops for feed – were required to be approved or registered by 1 January 2006.

Most farms and businesses registering for the first time needed to bring themselves into full compliance with the various conditions by 2008.

Genetically modified organisms

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be able to be identified throughout the supply chain with the objective of facilitating accurate labelling.

The local authority may wish to inspect any GMOs held. If the local authority finds that the correct documentation is not held or the GMOs are not correctly labelled, it can issue a notice requiring retention of any GMOs until they are correctly labelled, and withdrawal of any incorrectly labelled GMOs supplied from the market.

The marketing or release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment requires a licence.

There are two kinds of “release” covered by the legislation. Part B release covers non-commercial use of GMOs (such as use in research trials). Part C release covers the commercial use of GMOs.

Applications to market a GMO in the European Union (EU) can be made to any Member State Competent Authority. If the initial application is made in the UK, Defra will consult with other EU member states before a collective EU decision is made on whether to grant permission. Applications for products for food and feed will require approval under the GMO Food and Feed Regulations.

Any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) sold or marketed must be identified throughout the supply chain to ensure that the products will be accurately labelled.

The local authority may inspect any GMOs. If the local authority finds that the correct documentation is not held or the GMOs are not correctly labelled, it can:

  • issue a notice requiring retention of any GMOs held until they are correctly labelled
  • withdraw any incorrectly labelled GMOs supplied from the market

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