TDUG - The Traceability Design User Group

TDUG is a joint industry – Government group, which guides the Livestock Information Programme (LIP).

Strategy Statement October 2020

In a post-Brexit, post-CAP world the importance of a world-class tracing system is crucial to exploiting our export potential.

TDUG also provides guidance on the wider uses and benefits of the service, not only in England but as part of the UK View which is part of the LIP’s remit.

Robust, efficient traceability is a core requirement of TDUG’s role. Notifiable diseases such as Foot and Mouth or African Swine Fever present real threats to the industry, but there are also many production or non-notifiable diseases which could also be monitored, controlled and eventually eradicated with the help of a modern system of traceability.

The system must be capable of quickly identifying the source of an outbreak and directing the control measures needed to contain and rectify the situation and preserve market confidence. It should use up-to-date technology and support workable regulation.

Industry also has the opportunity to use that system to provide many additional layers of ‘fork to farm’ information - on production method, product quality or designated origin, boosting buyer confidence and building the reputation and demand for helping higher value UK produce both domestically and globally.

TDUG has two main remits:

  • To bring together and represent wider industry perspectives about livestock traceability
  • To ensure that the design and operation of the Livestock Information Service (LIS) is based on collaboration between and ‘co-creation’ by government and all levels of industry.

Since its creation, TDUG has focused on the core functionality of the new Livestock Information Service being built by Livestock Information Ltd, with particular emphasis on the statutory requirements of the new service. This has included:

  • advising Defra on how to maximise the value of traceability for industry
  • creating a link with industry to prepare it for change in a way that leads to acceptance and adoption
  • identifying the basic principles for the design of the Livestock Information Service and related policy developments
  • being instrumental in shaping the Business Case for the service for successful submission to central Government

More recently, TDUG has undertaken a strategic review of what opportunities exist to use Livestock Information Service data to add value by creating new services to benefit industry. To start that review the group agreed that the main challenges the sector faces are:

  • the ongoing pressure on margins
  • the impending removal of the single farm payment
  • the prospect of less total support for agriculture
  • increased scrutiny around provenance, animal welfare and environmental impact
  • greater volatility and competition from cheaper imports post-Brexit

With that in mind, TDUG developed four strategic pillars for work which would best meet the future needs of the industry.

  1. Improving productivity
  2. Enhancing the reputation of British products and market opportunities for them
  3. Promoting innovation within the sector
  4. Ensuring adaptability and continuous improvement

 Each strategic pillar has been further developed by TDUG into a set of agreed supporting actions.

1: Improving productivity

  • The provision of actionable management information (KPI’s, standardised metrics and benchmarking)
  • Better flow of abattoir data (incl. CCIR) to previous keepers
  • Better access to information at the point of sale (Knowledge Based Trading)
  • Support for national disease eradication programmes e.g. for BVD
  • More and cleaner data to accelerate genetic improvement
  • Integrating basic information to increase operational efficiency at markets and abattoirs
  • Data to support farmer participation in existing or new health and welfare and/or environmental schemes
  • Insight into industry structures, trading patterns and future supply

2: Enhancing the reputation of British products and market opportunities

  • Whole life animal traceability and enabling assurance schemes to verify whole life assurance
  • Verification of provenance, vertical and horizontal traceability
  • Antimicrobial/medicines use recording
  • Welfare outcomes
  • Data to benchmark and monitor progress towards national targets
  • Environmental impact (towards net zero by 2040)
  • Improved animal health and welfare

3: Promoting innovation within the sector

  • Facilitating safe sharing of livestock data to enable innovation and further development by commercial operators, innovators, Agri tech, R&D programmes
  • Ensuring clarity and transparency on data ownership and the flow of value to beneficiaries
  • Instilling confidence and a willingness to share data

4: Ensuring adaptability and continuous improvement

  • Progressively incorporating additional data as collection becomes feasible
  • Combining datasets and advanced analytics
  • Consolidating statutory information to improve operational efficiency
  • Co-creating policy which makes it progressively easier to comply, reduces burden, promotes accuracy, translates good behaviour and low risk into earned recognition
  • LIS functioning as a communication and signposting channel, particularly for new keepers

TDUG then agreed that a number of potential value-add services should be prioritised:

  • Whole life animal traceability and enabling assurance schemes to verify whole life assurance
  • Fast, efficient export certification
  • Knowledge-Based Trading, allowing buyers to make more informed purchasing decisions
  • Faster, more detailed performance and inspection information from abattoirs, extending back through the supply chain to the breeder
  • Antimicrobial recording in cattle and sheep, similar to the existing system in pork
  • Evidence of ‘public good’ services, via membership of future productivity, environmental or health and welfare schemes.
  • Integration with existing genetic improvement programmes

To take this work forward to the next level of detail, TDUG has set up three ‘Task and Finish’ sub-groups. These cover:

  • Safe and effective data sharing
  • Knowledge-based trading
  • Whole life farm assurance

TDUG will continue to review and refine its strategic ambition for added value services, drawing feedback from current and future Task and Finish groups, working with partnership projects within Defra, AHDB and the wider industry and making the case for further funding to bring these ambitions to reality.

“To date, TDUG has been integral to development of the Livestock Information Programme and it will continue to help shape and influence the design of the core multi-species database. Having TDUG agree a strategy to build on its ambition for added value services is fundamental to putting industry at the heart of the programme and the benefits to industry it could deliver.”

- Laura Ryan, Chair of TDUG

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TDUG Membership:

Chair:  Laura Ryan

Secretariat:  Jackie Darlow

Industry (meat and livestock sectors)

Phil Stocker, CEO, National Sheep Association (NSA)

Tim Brigstocke, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF)

Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary, Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA)

John Royle, Chief Livestock Adviser, National Farmers Union (NFU)

Andrew Laughton, National Beef Association (NBA)

Marcus Bates, CEO, British Pig Association (BPA) and British Export Certification Ltd

Johnny Mackay/Andy Warne, Approved Livestock Identification Manufacturers’ Association (ALIDMA)

Jan Rogers, Head of Equine Development British Equestrian Federation (BEF)

Jeanette Allen, CEO, The Horse Trust

Nick Allen, Chief Executive, British Meat Processing Association (BMPA)

Norman Bagley Head of Policy, Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS)

Zoe Davies, Chief Executive National Pig Association (NPA)

Paul Williams, Board Member, British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA)

Jennifer Whyberd/Eddie Harper, Road Haulage Association Ltd


Simon Hall, Managing Director, Livestock Information Ltd

Clare Parnham, Defra Livestock Policy

Paul Moody, Rural Payments Agency (RPA)

Mark Rigby, Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA)

Jane Mathews, Local Authority Trading Standards

Darren Whitby/Ramon Ramero,  Food Standards Agency

Stewart Houston, Animal Health & Welfare Board for England

Tim Morris, Animal Health & Welfare Board for England

Levy Boards & Farm Assurance

Richard Laverick, Chief Officer, LIP, Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB)

Ray Keatinge, LIP Innovation Lead, Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB)

Philippa Wiltshire, Head of External Affairs, Red Tractor

Agricultural Education

Mark Rutter, Professor of Applied Animal Behaviour, Harper Adams University

Robin Jackson, Duchy College

Last updated 2 February 2021.

TDUG exists in a developing landscape and will update its strategy statement to reflect progress in its work and other events which may affect the industry.

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