September 19, 2008
September 19, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reserving the use of animal identification numbers with the 840 prefix to only animals born in the United States. The number 840 is the U.S. country code and appears at the beginning of all animal identification numbers issued in this country.
"The ability to quickly locate an animal's origin during an animal disease investigation is absolutely essential," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "The more quickly we can determine the source and extent of an outbreak, the more effectively we can contain it. The use of animal identification numbers with the 840 prefix on U.S.-born animals provides animal health officials with key information about the animal's origin immediately."
By reserving use of this number, producers who use the 840 animal identification numbering system will have a convenient and cost-effective method that documents the origin of their animals in the United States to packers for country of origin labeling (COOL). Packers can rely upon this information for their origin claims on products at retail, in accordance with COOL.
Under the interim rule, any imported animal that loses its country of origin identification device cannot be retagged using an 840 animal identification number. The rule also makes it unlawful to remove any official animal identification device, including those applied in other countries recognized by APHIS for animals entering the United States.
This interim rule became effective upon publication in the Sept. 18 Federal Register. Comments to this interim rule must be received on or before Nov. 17 to be considered. Details are available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-21787.htm