Research Indicates NAIS Premises and Animal Registration is Incomplete and Ineffective for Homeland Security

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USDA National Animal ID System (NAIS) premises registration is too little and too late, and not a true traceback system

The USDA has increased funding for continued registration of premises for its national animal identification system (NAIS), while failing to address the real job for the program – animal traceback – and how the program can actually work without compromising producer's private data or increasing production costs.

According to the USDA's Secretary Johanns, more than 80,000 premises have been registered in the NAIS program, to help trace diseased or potentially diseased animals to their point of origin more quickly and efficiently. Currently, 47 states and five tribes have approved premises registration systems, and APHIS anticipates that all 50 states will be on board by July, 2005.

At the present time, animal health officials conduct disease trace outs with local, resident systems that make use of records related to program diseases, on-farm recordkeeping, and existing interstate movement certificates and breed registries. However, these epidemiologic investigations may take from days to weeks to complete because records are often kept on paper, or they are not standardized across state lines and International borders.

When local paper-based systems, or even local, resident software system and databases are used, any national system that still relies on these data sources for verification is bound to be slow and ineffective. Only a Web-based data management system can provide an efficient, effective data collection, storage, and report system with true animal traceback and traceup. A Web-based system makes it possible for records to move with the individual animal and related byproducts, which cuts the time required for source verification to just seconds.

Effective traceback is only possible when each stage of the food processing and supply system is included. The USDA's NAIS and other similar tracking systems currently in use or in pilot testing are incomplete and ineffective since they only are concerned with the animal's early life history.

All products in the food chain, from the live animal and its origin, to its associated commodity items, must be identified with a unique number and labeled by RFID or barcode and included in the traceback system. All activities and actions performed on the animals must be recorded at each location – and identified by a unique Premises IDentification Code (PIDC) – in a rancher's field, on a cattle truck, or even in the middle of a packing plant, all the way to the retailer and consumer.

Only ScoringAg's Internet-based recordkeeping system and database can meet the demands of real traceback in real time; provide real compliance with government traceback and Homeland Security and APHIS regulations; give producers and industry stakeholders a real marketing advantage over competitors with PIDC and point-to-point traceback; add proven value with RFID source verification throughout the Web-based recordkeeping system; and guarantee confidentiality with a secure databank that can still deliver Internet-based records anywhere, anytime, in real time – only to the owner of the account.

ScoringAg.com and its traceback and traceup system for agriculture products, featuring Site-Specific Recordkeeping™ and PIDC location code, is one of the many divisions of ScoringSystem, Inc., which is located in Sarasota, Florida USA and specializes in providing solutions with mobile data, via wireless PDAs, laptops, and Semacode-programmed Nokia, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson cell phones. Whether using RFID or barcodes for tracking and traceback of livestock, transport containers or perishable commodities and other consumer goods, http://www.ScoringAg.com makes managing data easier – and does it in an extremely cost effective manner.

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William Kanitz
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