The improved system, which replaces the previous visual identification scheme with electronic tags and movement recording, went live for cattle on July 1 and will bring deer in on March 1, 2013.
“The move to electronic identification presents some real opportunities for New Zealand to reinforce, in our overseas markets, our on-going commitment to producing high quality and safe food,” says Ben O’Brien, General Manager, Market Access, Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
“The enhancement of our traceability systems will put us at the forefront in those high value overseas markets where consumers increasingly demand assurances regarding the traceability of their food.”
The NAIT scheme is also viewed as an important development in New Zealand’s biosecurity readiness and response.
“We invest heavily in biosecurity because an incursion of an unwanted pest or disease like food and mouth disease is the single biggest threat to our industries,” says DairyNZ spokesperson Elizabeth Dixon. “NAIT enhances our response toolbox in the event of such an emergency.”
The entry into force of the enhanced scheme follows a long period of industry-government collaboration.
“Much hard work has got us to where we are today – and while there remains a transitional period ahead for cattle, and to introduce deer into the new electronic recording system, it has been a good example of how industry and the government can partner to support initiatives in New Zealand’s interest,” says Mark O’Connor, CEO of Deer Industry NZ.
NAIT registrations have topped 35,000 indicating a high degree of awareness among the cattle industries of the scheme.
Industry groups acknowledged that as a change to the previous visual tag scheme, it would take time for farmers to understand and adjust to the new system.
Farmers are encouraged to seek help from NAIT and other industry professionals through the transition period. As a first step, people in charge of animals should register with NAIT at www.nait.co.nz
Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ and Deer Industry New Zealand are shareholders in the NAIT scheme, a Crown-industry partnership.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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