Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, all major U.S. packers and processors will require a USDA-approved, official premises identification number (PIN) swine tag.

Karen Richter, the president of the National Pork Board noted that this is a positive step for the pork industry as it continues to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that will help protect animals, producer's livelihoods and their customers. 

She added that's why she encourages producers who may not already be using the official PIN tags to register their premises, and begin using the tags right away.  

According to Dr. Patrick Webb, the Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors.

“This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,” Webb said.

Once an animal is identified with an official PIN tag, it should not be removed or given a different official tag in the case of parity-segregated farms. Also, records documenting the identification and movement of breeding stock should be kept for three years.

Allflex USA, Inc., Destron Fearing and Y-Tex Corporation have USDA approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. When ordering, producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm. If the site does not have a PIN, producers can register here for one.

To date, packers that will require PIN tags as of January 2015 include: Johnsonville, Hillshire Brands, Calihan Pork Processors, Bob Evans Farms, Wampler’s Farm Sausage, Pine Ridge Farms, Pioneer Packing Co., Pork King Packing and Abbyland Pork Pack.