The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) expressed pleasure with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement Tuesday that it plans to publish a proposed animal traceability rule. The proposal will be published in the Aug. 11, 2011 Federal Register.

“This is a significant step in formalizing an animal traceability program and the pork industry is grateful for USDA’s effort,” remarks NPPC President Doug Wolf. “The industry also looks forward to the opportunity to comment on the proposed new rule and to the publication of a final animal traceability rule.

“An effective traceability program would allow U.S. pork to compete more effectively in the international marketplace with those countries that have already implemented traceability programs,” Wolf adds.

An effective traceability system is critical to the national animal health infrastructure and is required for certification by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), according to NPPC. In the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak, an effective traceback system would save millions of animals and millions of dollars.

The proposed rule applies only to interstate movement of animals and is administered at the state and tribal levels. The system will be designed to allow for flexibility and encourage the use of low-cost technologies, says USDA.

“The goal of the system is to assist animal health officials in minimizing impacts of disease outbreaks on commerce, and maximize the ability of producers to conduct their business,” says Steven Halstead, DVM, president of the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA). “USAHA appreciates the outreach of USDA in this process of evaluating a complex task. Many have put in significant effort over the years, and it is time for meaningful traceability to become reality.”

Comments must be received on or before Nov. 9. View the rule, fact sheet and details for comments at www.aphis.usda.gov.