Tracing of pigs without need to tattoo

17-12-2007 | |
Tracing of pigs without need to tattoo

A Danish research institute has developed a method that guarantees pig traceability without the need to tattoo.

This new method can save pig producers much effort in the future and remove the discomfort for pigs, according to the Danish Meat Association.
Before pigs are sent to slaughter, they normally receive a stamp with a number in order that they can be traced back for product safety reasons.

Group tracing
A so-called ‘group method’ of tracing has been developed by the Danes. It involves the dispatch of pigs to the slaughterhouse in groups.
Upon arrival at the slaughterhouse, the truck driver enters the freight delivery details into a computer terminal. The origin of the group is immediately noted by an electronic data system. Only the door of one pen is opened at a time where the animals are then kept in groups of 15.
The pigs are sent to slaughter in groups of 7 or 8. This procedure is electronically monitored. A scanner checks each belt to ensure that it is empty before dispatching the next group of pigs to slaughter. Finally, chips in the chains where the animals are hung, ensure traceability of the pigmeat.

Pioneer use
Danish Crown has pioneered the use of such a system in its slaughterhouse in Esbjerg. According to Carsten Damgaard of the Danish Meat Research Institute, Danish Crown employees have been working with the system for two years and it still requires a little ‘fine tuning’.

The background to this development is that most pig producers now send ‘full’ deliveries to the slaughterhouse and not in separate groups. At Danish Crown, around 50% of deliveries are ‘full’ deliveries.

Damgaard explained that slaughterhouse workers can monitor on a screen in which pen the animals from one particular producer are kept. “It is basically a modern warehousing system. In the future, pig transporters can be informed using such a system, which slaughter facilities have the most capacity at delivery time”.

In this test phase, tattooed pigs have been used. As soon as veterinary authorities approve the system, the tattoo will no longer be used.

Related websites:
Danish Meat Association
Danish Crown

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