Feds back merger of livestock traceability data

The federal government will put up half a million dollars to create a single national data management system for livestock traceability in Canada.

Pierre Lemieux, the federal parliamentary secretary for agriculture, announced the funding for the creation of a new single system, Canadian Agri-Traceability Services (CATS), on Friday at the Calgary Stampede.

CATS will provide traceability data services for both the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency and Quebec’s provincial agrifood traceability agency, Agri-Tracabilite Quebec (ATQ), thereby cutting the two organizations’ costs and simplifying data reporting, the government said.

"A national traceability system allows Canada to demonstrate our solid farm practices in animal health, our zoning capability, our emergency management, and our food safety systems," Lemieux said.

"This investment will help track information, ultimately protecting the bottom line of our beef, dairy, bison, sheep, and other animal producers."

From its Canadian Industry Traceability Infrastructure Program (CITIP), part of the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative, Ottawa will kick in $500,000 to create the single data system and another $265,000 to help the CCIA and ATQ improve their data management capabilities.

CITIP, which provides up to $2 million per approved project, has a deadline of March 31, 2013 for all activities on funded projects to be completed.

The CCIA and ATQ have set up a joint project steering committee to guide the creation of the new integrated data service, the government said Friday.

The two associations’ boards of directors recently agreed to support a "collaborative effort" setting up one multi-species database for all traceability administrators, the government said.

That agreement led to a joint application from the CCIA and ATQ for government funding to "support the analysis of database capacity, scalability, operability and performance requirements," the government added.

The CCIA and ATQ are showing leadership by helping build up a multi-species traceability system "which will allow Canada to manage risk proactively and respond to demands from governments and buyers for demonstrable assurances on food safety and biosecurity," past CCIA chair Steve Primrose, a co-chair of the CATS steering committee, said in the government’s release.

Related stories:
BIXS funds to help ‘complete circle’ of cattle data flow, March 11, 2012
Ont., Que. team up on food traceability, Sept. 4, 2008

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