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Pa. begins premises ID program to trackany disease outbreaks

August 29, 2006

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania has begun a premises identification program to help animal health officials track and contain animal disease outbreaks.

"Knowing the location of livestock operations in Pennsylvania is essential to protecting our food supply from disease outbreaks," state Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff said last week.

On finding a disease in the state, animal health officials will be able to immediately contact identified locations near the outbreak, giving them symptoms to look for and biosecurity measures to protect their livestock, Wolff said.

"In addition, premises identification will help ensure the quality and safety of Pennsylvania food for international trade, which will help our producers enter previously closed foreign markets," he said.

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He said premises identification numbers work similar to mailing addresses.

The program identifies locations only, and is not linked to any individual or specific animal, he said. As farms change ownership, the farm's ID number will remain the same, he said.

The new number will replace the different ones previously given properties with animals in various disease certification programs, Wolfe said.

Now, he said, officials can more precisely issue quarantine orders, avoiding unnecessary quarantines. He said the Department of Agriculture issues more than 400 quarantines a year for various diseases.

To obtain a premises number or add an animal species to a premises, producers can call 1-877-722-4724 or visit farminfo.psu.edu

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