SPRINGDALE, ARK. – Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., announced its support for cattle disease traceability program, US CattleTrace. Tyson will be the first beef processor to invest in the program formed by multiple state cattlemen’s organizations to develop a national infrastructure for animal disease traceability in the US cattle industry.
US CattleTrace will assist animal health officials by responding to events of foreign animal disease within the US cattle herd, a critical function in the US beef industry to maintain daily operations and continue to access ever important beef export markets.
“Animal health and disease traceability are critical issues for the meat industry and we’re hopeful our involvement will help advance industry efforts to implement this program across the country,” said Shane Miller, group president, Tyson Fresh Meats. “We believe CattleTrace can help to reduce the risk that animal disease poses to the US cattle supply, while also protecting our industry’s access to important export markets, which can quickly be compromised in the event of an animal health issue.”
US CattleTrace uses ear tags to collect the minimal data necessary, including an individual animal identification number, a GPS location, and date and time through ultra-high frequency technologies. The program utilizes the collected information to track animals in the event of a disease outbreak, as well as track the animal from location of birth and to each location they travel prior to reaching a processor for harvest. An ear tag with an electronic chip interacts with the radio frequency emitted by the reader. Tags are electronic but not battery operated, meaning they can last the lifetime of the animal.
“As leaders in the cattle industry, we are excited to see Tyson Fresh Meats’ commitment to animal health and disease traceability in the United States,” said Brandon Depenbusch, chair of the US CattleTrace board of directors. “We’ve heard from stakeholders across the country that in order for a producer-led system to succeed, buy-in amongst all sectors is needed. This commitment from a leader in beef processing shows that no-matter where we come from in the cattle industry, we are all working towards a common goal of protecting our nation's herd and the highest quality, most sustainable beef product in the world.”