Cattle identification and traceability
NLIS-accredited radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) contain microchips which are encoded with unique numbers that are linked to the PIC that the RFIDs were issued to. RFID numbers are uploaded to the NLIS database by tag manufacturers, along with the device's corresponding NLISID number, which is printed on the outside of every device and can be read visually.
- Cattle producers must apply a white NLIS device (either an ear tag or a rumen bolus/ear tag combination) to cattle bred on their property.
- When cattle move from one PIC to another, their devices are scanned electronically with a tag reader, or the NLISID number is read visually and the number is noted. The consignment's movement details are then recorded on the NLIS database and automatic notifications of the movement are sent to the appropriate account holders and authorities via email.
- If cattle are bought or sold through a saleyard or sold to an abattoir, the saleyard or abattoir must record the movement.
- If cattle are bought or sold privately, the person who receives the cattle is responsible for notifying the database of the movement.
- If cattle move between properties with a different PIC, the movements must be recorded on the database, even if the properties have the same owner.
- If cattle move to an agistment property owned by someone else, the movement off the owner's property and onto the agistment property must be recorded on the database.
NLIS and meat safety status
A record of each PIC that an animal resides on is stored on the database to allow cattle to be traced quickly. Using this information, the NLIS database is able to provide a life history of an animal's residency, and to discern other animals it has come into contact with.
Statuses may be assigned to individual animals or to properties to record pertinent information against a device or property on the NLIS database. For example, a device status that is assigned may indicate that a device is damaged; that the animal it is attached to has been stolen, or has been vaccinated against a particular disease, that it has been exposed to disease or chemicals, or various other pieces of information that relate to a single animal or a device. A PIC status may indicate that all of the animals on a particular property were exposed to disease or chemicals, that a property is LPA or EU-accredited, or various other pieces of information that may relate to a property.
Any device or PIC statuses that indicate that any animals may pose a biosecurity or health risk are reported to abattoirs and processing facilities to ensure that the affected animals are tested at slaughter. This maintains the safety, quality and integrity standards of Australian beef and reduces the impact of a potential livestock disease epidemic or residue incident.
There are various types of NLIS-accredited devices and several tag manufacturers. NLIS Ltd accredits devices that meet performance standards, but not equipment such as readers or weigh scales, or software packages from other companies. Producers should always contact the equipment manufacturer or supplier for current products and prices.