AIM Global (Warrendale, Pa.), the automatic identification trade association, has published a technical report on using radiofrequency identification for tracking food animals.The technical report was developed in response to mandates from government offices in Canada and the U.S. to improve the lifetime tracking of cattle in response to the frequent transport of food animals, primarily beef cattle, across borders and recent BSE ("mad cow disease") incidents.
The report includes recommendations for the use of existing low frequency (LF) as well as ultra high frequency (UHF) tags. While both bar code and LF RFID ear tags have been available for a number of years, they encode only a unique animal ID, have limitations in range and require access to an external database for pertinent data. Recommendations in the report include provision for pertinent data to be recorded directly in memory on the ear tag, speeding data collection and animal identification.
AIM Global recognizes the existing ISO standards for the use of LF RFID ear tags but details the benefits that could be recognized by utilizing the expanded data content and read range available with newer UHF RFID tags. These expanded capabilities could speed the identification of animals throughout the supply chain in the event of biological or toxicological health threats.