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Food Safety

The impact of transmissible animal diseases and the measures necessary to control those diseases can be very severe for individual animals, animal populations, animal keepers and the economy. Preventing and controlling diseases transmissible to animals or to humans is an important issue for operators and competent authorities.

In case of a disease outbreak it is crucial to know where animals kept in the outbreak establishment came from and also where animals from this establishment went to in the time period when transmission of the disease was likely to take place.

Traceability of the animals is achieved by ensuring correct identification and exchange of information as well as record keeping in establishments.

Operators keeping ovine and caprine animals have to ensure (see Article 113 of the Animal Health Law, Regulation (EU) 2016/429) that each animal is identified on the establishment of birth. Depending on the intended fate of the animal, there are two options (see Articles 45 to 48 of Regulation (EU) 2019/2035):

  • Animals moved directly to a slaughterhouse before the age of 12 months have to be identified by at least an ear tag or a pastern band, showing the registration number of the establishment of birth or the identification code of the animal.
  • Animals intended to be kept for more than 12 months have to be individually identified by an ear tag with the identification code of the animal and by an electronic identification (e.g. injectable, ruminant bolus) approved by the competent authority.

All identifications must show the codes in a visible, legible and indelible display. The identification has to be applied within 9 months from birth or when the animal leaves the establishment of birth (see Article 14 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/520).

If moved to another establishment within the Member State concerned, the information on movements has to be transmitted by the operator to the computer database of that member state within 7 days (see Article 3 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/520) or the animals have to be accompanied by a correctly completed movement document.

Member States information

View the full list of Member States information.