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Abattoirs, slaughterhouses and the NLIS

Abattoir and slaughterhouse operators are identified under the Biosecurity Act 2014 as a registrable biosecurity entity and must comply with National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) requirements.

Registrable biosecurity entities must register with Biosecurity Queensland to be allocated a property identification code (PIC) for livestock traceability purposes.

NLIS tagging requirements

All cattle, sheep, goats and pigs must be identified with an approved NLIS device before travelling to an abattoir or slaughterhouse.

Any untagged stock must be reported to a Biosecurity Queensland inspector within 24 hours.

There are NLIS tag exemptions for certain types of livestock movements:

  • pigs that bear a registered slap-brand
  • harvest rangeland goats direct from an approved goat depot.

Movement records

All livestock movements must be accompanied by a movement record from the PIC of consignment to the facility.

A copy of the movement record must be kept by the abattoir or slaughterhouse for 5 years.

Reporting to the NLIS database

It is the responsibility of the abattoir or slaughterhouse to report all movements of cattle, sheep and goats to the NLIS database within 48 hours of slaughter. If you know that cattle, sheep or goats will not be slaughtered within 5 days of arrival these animals must be transferred to the PIC of the facility.

To report to the NLIS database abattoirs and slaughter houses must register for a ‘processor’ NLIS account. To register for a ‘processor’ account visit www.nlis.com.au. If you require further assistant contact the NLIS helpdesk on 1800 654 743.

MLA tech tips (PDF, 4MB) are available on the NLIS database to assist abattoirs and slaughterhouses with the NLIS reporting requirements.

Reporting cattle movements

Property to processor transfer

The processor must read the device either electronically or visually and, within 48 hours of slaughter, supply the NLIS database with a report containing the following details:

  • from PIC
  • NLIS or radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag number for each animal
  • body or carcass number and the chain number (if more than one chain)
  • slaughter date
  • movement record serial number
  • establishment or accreditation number of the abattoir or slaughterhouse (This is provided automatically at log-on to the website. These numbers are linked in the database to the PIC for the abattoir.)

Additional requirements that meat processors must adhere to are:

  • No untagged cattle must be mixed with cattle other than those in the same consignment. Before slaughter, the PIC from which the cattle were consigned must be established.
  • Correlate RFID or NLIS ID with the carcass number (until the carcass and its parts are beyond the point in the chain where the carcass is considered fit for human consumption).
  • Remove the NLIS device or transaction tag and either destroy it or retain it securely in storage pending recovery for reuse or recycling under a scheme approved by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The NLIS device must be destroyed in a way that ensures the electronic microchip in the device is inoperative.

Details such as sex and dentition may also be uploaded to the NLIS database. This information is used for traceback and disease investigations by government agencies.

Reporting sheep and goat movements

Property to processor transfer

The processor must, within 48 hours of slaughter, supply the NLIS database with a report containing the following details:

Direct consignment:

  • species
  • kill date
  • processor PIC number
  • number of head slaughtered
  • source of animals
  • from PIC
  • foreign PICs (PICs on the devices in the consignment other than the PIC of consignment)
  • movement record number
  • other PICs listed on the movement record
  • if the animals have been vendor-bred, or not.

Saleyards consignment:

  • species
  • kill date
  • processor PIC
  • number of head
  • source of animals
  • saleyard PIC
  • foreign PICs (PICs on the devices in the consignment that are not listed on the movement record under the 'other PIC' section).

Meat processors must also ensure that no untagged stock is mixed with stock other than those in the same consignment. Before slaughter, the PIC from which the stock were consigned must be established (i.e. excluding any holding yard, sale yard or butcher’s paddock).

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