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Traceability using RFID in the livestock and food segments are the center of our developments. SYSCAN has developed several applications in North and South America that enable full animal traceability.

Due to changing world regulations and changing markets SYSCAN has positioned itself as a leader throughout the food chain. Producers, transporters, abattoirs and meat processors have all benefited from our developed technology.

Meat packers

Abattoirs are responsible for keeping records of all arrivals, and for notifying the central authority of arrivals and slaughtering so that slaughtered animals could be recorded as having been “terminated” and no longer in the system. Abattoirs also monitor the identification of animals carefully so that animals coming from farms that had lost their accreditation were rejected and not slaughtered. Records of such rejections also have to be kept, and the central authority notified.

Abattoirs maintain their own “in house” tracing systems so that a package of meat or a carcass can be traced back to the animal, or at least to the group of animals, from which it originated. Recording times of deboning or packaging allow trace-back to the slaughter of the original consignment of animals provided that the time from slaughter to packaging was constant and known. Such “time-based” systems are common, but a carcass RFID tracking system is far better.

Each carcass is received with an assigned an unique identification number before bleeding-out and skinning, which should be recorded on a computer system; as the carcass is weighed and graded, this information is recorded against the carcass number. If meat is deboned and packaged (i.e. mixing of meat from various carcasses occurs), the numbers of the carcasses in the consignment that is deboned is recorded so that at least the batch numbers of the meat packages can be matched to a consignment of animals.

Ideally, the number assigned to the carcass is recorded in the abattoir’s system against the identification number of the live animal so that the abattoir traceability system is seamlessly linked to the “field” traceability system. In theory, a farmer should be able to query the traceability system to ascertain the slaughter weights and grades attained by each animal he/she consigned for slaughter.


Producers are embracing the benefits traceability using RFID

Recent events, especially the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalophy (BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease) in Europe and the U.S., and the recently introduced country of origin labeling requirements issued by many governments, have focused attention on traceability capabilities in the global meat sector.

The 2002 U.S. Farm Bill, the development of a European Food Authority and the "Beef Labeling Regulations" now being enforced in Australia and Japan are just some of the factors motivating ranchers and meat producers to adopt traceability implementation.

Bad publicity relative to tainted meat within the fast-food restaurant industry is motivating some of these organizations to implement strict tracking requirements and accountability from their meat suppliers. In the beef industry as in many others, private company requirements can have a greater effect than a governmental requirement.

Some of the benefits achievable through meat traceability systems include:

  • Prevention of theft and loss of livestock by clearly identifying animal ownership. Ranchers have a substantial amount of capital tied up in their beef herd and can be motivated to identify animals with marks that distinguish their cattle or other livestock from those belonging to others. This is especially true in regions where rancher’s co-op for cattle feed land.
  • Ranchers implementing traceability systems for live animals can establish prevention methods to stop the spread of animal diseases, and to track and identify healthy and unhealthy animals. While this certainly benefits the rancher’s organization from an internal perspective, this capability is becoming a requirement from many beef importing countries’ governments.
  • Up to date medical information on each animal such as vaccinations, feeding regimens and other vital information unique to that animal may increase its value. Ranchers who can prove through traceability that their herd possesses such value are more likely to be able to negotiate higher prices. In some cases, these ranchers will become the only suppliers to major global fast-food organizations as their requirements become stricter relative to meat traceability and accountability.


Livestock trading agents, auctioneers and transporters have an important role to play as links in the production chain, even though their contact with the animal may be short-lived. They have to:

  • put in place a bookkeeping system with detailed records of all animals passing through their hands (identification numbers and dates of transactions at the very least);
  • regularly notify (on a weekly or monthly basis) the central authority of all animal movements both into and out of their enterprises;
  • maintain animal welfare standards in terms of the facilities they use, animal management, vehicle standards and acceptable driving practices.

For more information about Syscan-RS solutions please contact us.