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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Electronic identification of bovines to further strengthen food safety

The European Commission today adopted a proposal that will, when implemented, further enhance food safety and better safeguard animal health in the EU.

In particular, the Commission proposal provides the legal framework for the introduction, for the first time and on a voluntary basis, of an electronic identification system (EID) for bovine animals. Bovine EID is already used in several EU Member States on a private basis mainly for farm management purposes. Its implementation on a wider scale will strengthen the current traceability system for bovine animals and food products (e.g. beef) making it faster and more accurate. Finally, it may bring benefits to farmers and other stakeholders as it will reduce the administrative burden through the simplification of the current administrative procedures. Despite its voluntary character, the Commission proposal allows Member States to introduce a mandatory regime at national level.

In addition to EID, the Commission proposal introduces changes in relation to labelling, by repealing the current provisions on voluntary beef labelling. The main objective is to reduce unnecessary administrative burden.

Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, said. "This is a new step forward in the reinforcement of the safety of the food chain in the EU. Indeed, when implemented, this proposal will facilitate the reporting of animal movements to the central data base. This will mean better and faster traceability of infected animals and/or infected food, which will allow us to react rapidly and fend off any future potential risks to the food chain".

Source: European Commission