Traceability in Alberta

Traceability is a tool that is used to follow an item or a group of items - be it animal, plant, food product or ingredient - from one point in the supply chain to another, either backwards or forwards.

Elements of traceability are not new to Canadian agriculture. Tags, tattoos, brands, flock sheets, manifests, and other paper-based logbooks such as calving books are all components of traceability that have been employed for many years by both industry and government.

One of the key benefits of this Traceability system is that in the event of an animal disease outbreak or emergency timely and accurate information can be used to minimize the impact to public and animal health, food safety and to the agricultural business sector.

Traceability is a key component of the Alberta Livestock and Meat Strategy that was implemented two years ago in 2008. In 2009, provincial traceability regulations were placed under the Alberta Animal Health Act.

The Government of Alberta works in partnership with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) and the Livestock Identification Services (LIS) in order to enhance support of the traceability system. Together, they collect information required for the three components of traceability information.

Alberta’s traceability system functions using three major components.

Premises Identification

Premises Identification provides a way of linking farm animals to geographic locations and is fundamental for emergency management. Livestock owners and commingling site operators, like feedlots, register their premises with the Government of Alberta. The system allows officials to rapidly determine the location of livestock and poultry operations within a radius to quickly inform targeted producers of a threat.

Animal Identification

Animal Identification is vital to tracing movement through various stages of production. It is important for disease investigation and response, surveillance, food safety and market differentiation.

For example, In Alberta, cattle are identified with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag and age verified before 10 months of age. Hog owners use a tattoo that is tied to a premise to identify their market animals. Sheep, bison and elk producers have been identifying their animals for many years under the Federal regulations.

Animal Movement

Animal Movement involves the ability to follow an animal through stages of production, feeding, and processing. This movement information is documented though inspected manifests and transportation permits. This information is vital for trace-backs performed by Alberta’s Chief Provincial Veterinarian’s Office and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Livestock inspectors are at all critical commingling sites in the province (auction marts, assembly stations, feedlots, and packing plants) where this information is collected and verified.

Livestock owners, feedlot operators, processors and livestock businesses can obtain advice or on-site assistance from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Traceability field staff.

For more information contact:
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Traceability Division
308, 7000-113 Street
Edmonton, AB,
T6H 5T6
Phone: 780-643-1572

Call the Ag-Info Centre toll-free at 310-FARM (3276)

Age-Verification Incentive Program

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is offering this program to recognize the efforts of cow-calf producers who tag and age-verify their calves.

  • Three-year program running until December 31, 2012.
  • Cow-calf-producers are eligible to claim an incentive-discount on CCIA-approved RFID tag purchases based on the number of calves age-verified from the previous year’s calf crop.
  • Age-verification supports enhanced animal health and food safety, foreign market import requirements and growing domestic and industry expectations.

Who is eligible?

All Alberta cow-calf producers who age-verify their calves, excluding dairy producers.

How can producers participate?

Tags purchased after July 1, 2010 are eligible for a convenient incentive-discount to the maximum of $3.00 per tag at the point of purchase based on the number of calves age-verified from the previous year’s calf crop. Visit you local participating tag dealer for more details.

For tags purchased between January 2009 and July 2010, eligible producers may claim their incentive-discount by completing the Tag Purchase Reimbursement-Producer Application Form, providing a copy of tag receipts and mailing them to:

Room 201, 7000 113 St NW

Edmonton, AB, T6H 5T6

Forms are available from local ARD offices, CCIA’s Mobile Field Reps, participating tag dealers and at:

For more information call the Ag-Info Centre toll free at 310-FARM (3276)

For more information on Traceability in Albert please click the following links: