The development of a new Livestock Information Service to give farmers accurate information about animals and their movements has been announced by the government.
The new service, set to be operational from 2019, hopes to provide the foundation for some of the best farm-to-fork traceability in the world when the UK leaves the EU.
It seeks to demonstrate the UK’s credentials as a world leader in food production.
The service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food.
Identifying and tracking animal movements via electronic IDs, initially dairy cows, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, also means that the industry will be better-placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.
The announcement follows contributions from industry stakeholders over the last year through a partnership called the Traceability Design User Group (TDUG), which will help create and develop the new service.
Defra says the development of the service will help drive a “progressive and vibrant” livestock industry once the UK leaves the EU.
Defra Secretary Michael Gove said: “Working hand-in-hand with industry, we will design and implement a service that puts food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental enhancement at its core.”
NFU President Minette Batters said the service will be transformational. “It’s essential that government and industry work together and this a great example of what we can achieve when we do.
“I feel that this is totally transformational, underpinning our reputation in producing some of the best meat and livestock products in the world. It’s a win for government, a win for team agriculture and, most of all, it’s a win for the consumer.”
Mrs Batters added: “The use of modern technology will make it simple for farmers, food chain companies and government to use the service and reap the benefits of shared data that will put the UK livestock industry on the front foot as a global trading partner.”
Organisations such as the NFU, Red Tractor, AHDB and National Sheep Association helped create the service.