The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, APHIS, has published in the Federal Register its final rule on traceability requirements for livestock moved interstate, and some of the facets of the rule have raised concerns for the National Chicken Council.
Though the rule, which becomes effective March 11, mainly focuses on cattle, it leaves in place existing poultry-related traceability regimes and requires records be retained for poultry for two years.
Although generally supportive of agency efforts to implement traceability programs, the council in comments to the proposed rule voiced concern with APHIS's decision to apply what they said was a one-size fits all, cattle-based traceability system to poultry, and specifically with APHIS's proposed requirement that records be kept for five years for all species. The preamble to the final rule recognizes the effectiveness of the existing poultry traceability program under the National Poultry Improvement Plan and leaves that program largely in place.
"NCC and our members are committed to animal health and to ensuring effective mechanisms are in place to identify and quickly trace an animal disease to its source," said NCC Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Ashley Peterson, Ph.D. "Indeed, many members of the broiler industry have already implemented systems to track their flocks, and the industry continues to innovate in this area. NCC is pleased that APHIS took some of our comments into account in the formulation of the final rule, including reducing the recordkeeping requirements for poultry to two years, down from the proposed five years."
Peterson said that this requirement would minimize the burden on regulated companies while still ensuring a meaningful animal traceback system.
For poultry, the key aspects of the final rule, according to to the NCC, include:
Identification — Unless an exception applies, poultry moved interstate must be identified using sealed and numbered leg bands per the NPIP, marked with a group/lot identification (when such numbering is appropriate), or by an alternative method recognized by the states or tribes shipping or receiving the birds.
Documentation — Poultry moving interstate must be accompanied by an interstate certification of veterinary inspection (ICVI) unless:
- The birds are from a flock participating in the NPIP;
- The birds are moved directly to a recognized slaughtering or rendering establishment;
- The birds are moved from a farm for veterinary care and are returned to the farm or euthanized;
- The birds are moved from one state, through another state, and back into the original state;
- The birds are moved between shipping and receiving states or tribes with a VS Form 9-3 or documentation other than an ICVI as agreed upon by the shipping and receiving states or tribes; or
- The birds are moved under a permit under 9 CFR Part 82.
Exemptions — Poultry moved to a custom slaughter facility is exempt from the traceability regulations. Additionally, poultry belonging to growers that are not part of the NPIP is exempted from official identification requirements, but the person responsible for the birds received from the hatchery or redistributor must maintain a record of where the birds were obtained.
Recordkeeping — Approved livestock facilities must keep ICVIs or alternative documentation for poultry for at least two years.