Wednesday, January 18, 2012

US Cattle Identification Systems Seen to Be Poor

While the Australian NLIS system is not perfect, it is in place and generally works ok, and is now part of a solution for export of live cattle to Indonesia.

But cattle identification in the US [a serious meat competitor to Australia] has recently been of some concern to researchers.

And the following brief report sums this up nicely -
Economists at Kansas State University have released a study that examined cattle identification (ID) and traceability systems around the world and found that the US lags behind both major beef exporting nations and beef importers in the development and implementation of cattle ID systems, according to Glynn Tonsor, a Kansas State economist involved in the study.

The implications "are particularly troubling," he said.

US cattle prices last year were record high, in large part due to beef exports, but the comparative disadvantage regarding U.S. cattle ID "puts these and future US beef export gains at risk," he said.

Furthermore, U.S. consumers have largely trusted US beef producers and have not pushed the industry to adopt cattle ID, he said, but this may soon change as consumers become increasingly interested in traceability.

The US beef industry would be well served to give implementations in this study "serious thought," Tonsor said, before a lack of ID and traceability costs business at home and abroad.


There are a few novels that paint a grim picture of the US animal abattoir system and offer some dubious views of the security and integrity of the system. And there have been a few serious issues in relation to meat quality at consumer outlets, especially fast food venues, in recent years in the USA. And remember, the US had meat exports banned to a number of Asian countries for some years over mad cow disease.

As said, NLIS is not absolute, but it generally now works. It seems that all is not well in the US however!!

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