Feds want five-year paper trail for livestock

First proposed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) under the George W. Bush administration, the regulations require livestock producers, slaughterhouses and rendering plants to keep five years of records for animals that have been in their facilities.

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The previous rules only required two years of recordkeeping and excluded the slaughtering and rendering industries.

The inspection service wants access to documents such as “weight tickets, sales slips, and records of origin, identification, and destination that relate to livestock that are in, or that have been in, the facility,” according to a Federal Register publication scheduled to print on Tuesday.

The proposal, released in 2008, received little feedback from the public or the industry. One comment complained that slaughterhouses and rendering plants are already subject to record keeping requirements under the Food and Drug Administration, but the inspection service countered that those records only need to be kept for one year.

Some diseases, such as bovine tuberculosis, can stay dormant for months or years, the agency says. It wants to be able to go through records and track the source of an illness long after an animal dies.

Since poultry and pigs have a shorter lifespan than other livestock, APHIS agreed to only require a two-year retention of documents for those animals.

The regulations will become effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.