Anyone in the hog industry who ships or receives pigs is now required to report the movement to a national database within seven days.
Federal regulations making participation in the "PigTrace Canada" database mandatory took effect on July 1st.
"One of the main goals of PigTrace is when you get foreign animal diseases - use PED for example - it's very important you get the tracebacks done as fast as possible to stop the risk of spreading the disease further. That's where it's critical," says Karl Kynoch, chair of the Manitoba Pork Council.
He notes the traceability will be beneficial in promoting Canadian pork in export markets.
"85 percent of our product here in Manitoba is exported. Our export markets are concerned about food safety. They want to know that when there's an issue, we can trace back the product quick and effectively to get it under control," says Kynoch. "So it's going to work two-fold - for controlling disease for producers and to keep a strong image on the export markets, which is very crucial as well."
With food service and grocery store companies asking producers to supply pork with certain characteristics (ie. pork raised in "stall-free" housing systems), there's potential the database could also be used to trace meat back to specific farms for marketing purposes, he says.
Despite the value in traceability, Kynoch says feedback from producers has been mixed.
"Most producers, once they realize why we're doing it and the importance of it, they're open to working with it," he says.
Producers, processors and transporters must register before they can begin logging animal movement. The entire PigTrace system is being administered out of Manitoba Pork's office in Winnipeg.