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Grading, Certification, and Verification
QAD Questions and Answers - Program Compliant Ear Tags  
Q1: What is a "program compliant ear tag (PCT)?"

A: A PCT is a 1-time use, tamper-evident tag, which contains a non-repeatable, unique number. The tag is unique and specific to the Program. It may be an EID, RFID, or a visual tag. The company must provide evidence that the tag meets these requirements.

Q2: Must PCT begin with 840 in the 15 digit number?

A: No. PCT do not need to meet the NAIS tag requirements. However, the 840 tag meets all requirements of a PCT. Additionally we do encourage participation in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) Program.

Q3: Where does the PCT have to be applied?

A: The PCT must be applied and/or approved (1) under an approved USDA PVP or QSA Program and (2) at the farm of birth or an alternative location as approved on a case-by-case basis, depending on the scope of the USDA PVP or QSA Program.

Q4: Do I have to use a PCT in a USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) or Quality System Assessment (QSA) Program?

A: No. Companies may choose the method of identification. However, the use of a PCT may provide other benefits as outlined in Q5.

Q5: What are the benefits of using a PCT in a USDA PVP or QSA Program, when an ear tag is applied?

A: The use of a PCT allows clients making claims that do not change from one location to another (such as age, source, and breed claims) more flexibility to market qualified animals. Qualified animals may be marketed to unapproved locations without jeopardizing the claims associated with those animals. Whereas, animals without a PCT must be marketed and moved from an approved location to an approved location in order to maintain the animalís eligibility in the USDA Program.

Q6: How do I control extra PCT that are allocated to a group of animals?

A: The client can control PCT by requiring suppliers (producers) to (1) return unused PCT to the company or (2) maintain a record of all PCT including their use as replacement tags or their destruction. The record must include the date, tag number(s), and action taken. For additional controls, the client may choose to remove or identify data associated with all unused PCT within a database or record.

Q7: If an animal looses a PCT, can it be retagged and retained in an approved USDA PVP or QSA Program?

A: Yes, an animal may be retagged if the PCT is lost while the animal is enrolled in a USDA PVP or QSA Program. If the PCT is lost while the animal is not enrolled, then it is not eligible for inclusion in a USDA PVP or QSA Program.

Q8: What can unapproved sources who market USDA PVP or QSA Program approved animals with PCT do to provide assurances to their customers that they correctly represent qualifying animals?

A: Other sources may:
a. Become a USDA-approved source;
b. Become a supplier approved under a company's approved USDA PVP or QSA Program for age verification; or
c. Receive training from a company on how to handle and represent cattle under that company's approved USDA PVP or QSA Program;
d. Refer customers to the USDA Official Listings for PVP and QSA Programs at:

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  Last Modified Date: 01/07/2010