1. Information on EUCAS
1.1. Why do we need EUCAS for the European Union?
The European Union will not accept Australian beef unless certain production requirements are met.
These requirements include:
- the beef is from cattle that have not been treated with Hormonal Growth Promotants (HGPs) or oestradiol and its ester-like derivatives.
- Individual animal identification in an approved form for trace-back of cattle slaughtered for the EU market
The European Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme (EUCAS) is in place to ensure these requirements are met.
1.2. What do I have to do to meet the requirements?
Farms, feedlots and saleyards must become accredited to participate in EUCAS. Entry into EUCAS is by way of an application form PDF [277 KB]. The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment administers the accreditation arrangements.
EUCAS requires accredited farms to:
- have only Hormonal Growth Promotant (HGP) free and oestradiol free cattle on their property at all times
- only purchase and sell cattle from other accredited properties and saleyards (with the exception of approved non-EU breeding females and bulls)
- use the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) to identify and trace scheme cattle movements
- use European Union Vendor Declaration (EUVD) forms and specific scheme transaction tail tags to identify scheme cattle that are being moved.
EUCAS allows accredited feedlots and saleyards to have HGP-free and HGP-treated cattle on their premises, however, they must have management plans in place to ensure that EUCAS cattle are segregated from non-EU cattle at all times. The management plan must also ensure EUCAS cattle will remain HGP free.
1.3. How do I become accredited?
To gain accreditation for a property, the manager (the person responsible for the day-to-day management of the cattle) must submit an application for accreditation form. Application forms are available on the department’s website or by phoning the EUCAS helpline on 1800 305 544, 8:00 am to 4:00pm pm, Monday to Friday.
The manager who signs the application for accreditation form takes full responsibility for meeting all the conditions of accreditation. If these conditions are not met, the manager may face penalties and imprisonment.
Farm Accreditation: Before an application for farm accreditation can be approved, the manager must meet the below conditions:
- You must not use or store HGPs or Oestradiol on the property you intend to obtain accreditation for.
- You must have only HGP-free cattle on the farm you are obtaining accreditation for at the time of accreditation.
- You must have records that prove your cattle are HGP-free.
- If you have used HGPs on the farm you intend to obtain accreditation for within the past two years, you must:
- Remove all the cattle that have been treated with HGPs from the farm you intend to obtain accreditation for
- Surrender all unused doses of HGPs to the HGP retailer or wholesaler where you bought them
- Have records that prove these things have occurred.
- You must reconcile the current number of animals and unused tags physically on your property with the NLIS database.
Feedlot or Saleyard Accreditation:
To gain accreditation for a feedlot or saleyard, the manager must complete an application for accreditation form and submit a management plan. Approval for accreditation is granted after an audit process that ensures your management plan is workable and meets the EUCAS requirements.
1.4. Do I have to be able to prove that I have no HGP or oestradiol treated cattle on my property?
Yes. While accredited, a farm manager must not at any time:
- use HGPs or oestradiol on cattle on the property
- store HGPs or oestradiol on the accredited property
- have HGP or oestradiol treated cattle on the farm.
Accredited feedlots and accredited saleyards are allowed to have HGP treated cattle on their premises; however, they must have stringent procedures in place to ensure these cattle are segregated from EUCAS cattle.
1.5. What will I have to do to prove that I have no HGP treated cattle on my property?
For farms, the accredited manager must have records that prove the cattle on your property are HGP-free, including an EUVD or NVD.
If you have used HGPs in the past, you must have farm records that show how you disposed of the HGP-treated cattle. If you have brought in cattle from other properties, you must have records that show the HGP-free status of the cattle.
Once accredited, you must only purchase cattle from other accredited properties or accredited saleyards and these cattle must be designated as EUCAS cattle at the time of purchase.
For all cattle on your property, you must individually identify them in accordance with the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS).
1.6. What if I have cattle that I am not sure about and I don’t have a record?
For farms, you will be required to remove any animals deemed ineligible prior to accreditation. Once all cattle of unknown HGP or oestradiol status are removed from your farm, you will be able to apply for accreditation.
For feedlots and saleyards, cattle of unknown HGP status must be treated as non-EU cattle.
1.7. What declarations do I have to make?
There are two types of legally binding declarations to be completed. These are:
- The Application Form PDF [277 KB]
- The European Union Vendor Declaration (EUVD)
1.8. What checks are made on these declarations?
The department will confirm that you have completed all sections of the application form correctly.
Feedlots and saleyards are subject to a pre-accreditation audit before accreditation is approved. Feedlots and saleyards are also required to undergo annual audit in order to retain their property accreditation.
Farms will be subjected to random audits throughout their accreditation. These audits will check that compliance with declarations made is continuing to be met.
1.9. What happens if I decline or fail an audit?
Accredited properties are required to undergo audit when selected. If you wish to retain your accreditation, you will need to consent to undergo an audit of your accredited property.
If you decline an audit for your accredited property, you will no longer be eligible to retain your property accreditation. The department will contact you after receiving advice you have declined an audit and request your written confirmation of withdrawal from the scheme.
If you do not confirm your withdrawal from the scheme after the department has contacted you, the department can take further action in relation to your accreditation by proposing to revoke your accreditation under the legislation.
Failing an audits means you have not complied with one or more of the conditions of your accreditation. Your accreditation may be revoked and depending on the non-compliance the manager may face legal prosecution.
2.1. What tags will I be required to use?
All cattle on your EUCAS accredited property must be individually identified with a National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) approved device. You will be required to use NLIS-approved devices to identify and trace cattle movements. For a list of NLIS-approved tags, please visit the NLIS website or call 1800 654 743.
NLIS-approved devices are colour-coded as below:
- White Homebred tags are used to identify all cattle born on the property they are on at the time of identification.
- Orange Post breeder tags are used to identify cattle which have lost their original tag and were not born on the property they are on at the time of identification.
3. NLIS Database
3.1. How do I access the NLIS database and enter details of my cattle onto it?
3.2. What if I don’t enter the data into the NLIS database?
If you do not enter the required data, you will be in breach of your conditions of accreditation. Your accreditation may be revoked and as the accredited manager, you may face legal penalties or fines.
If you do not have direct access to the NLIS database through a computer, you can authorise an agent or another person to notify the NLIS database on your behalf. An Access Authority form can be obtained from the NLIS Database Administrator.
Feedlots and saleyards are required to have direct access to the NLIS database and appropriate reading equipment.
3.3. There seems to be a lot of work involved in EUCAS. Why do I have to do all this?
Participation in EUCAS is voluntary. Many producers see commercial incentives for being accredited and have therefore chosen to do so. If you choose to be accredited in order to meet the EU requirements, it is essential that Australia is able to trace any meat produced for this market from the carton back to its property of origin, including all the properties the animal may have been on during its life.
Following extensive consultation between the department and industry, it has been decided the most effective way to do this is through the NLIS database. Similar systems are being developed and implemented in other major beef producing countries around the world.
4.1. I have heard that I can only bring cattle from EUCAS accredited properties onto my property. Does this mean that I will no longer be able to agist cattle from properties that are not EU accredited?
Yes, this is correct. You will only be able to have cattle on your property that meet the conditions of accreditation, which means that you won’t be able to have cattle from non-accredited properties agisted on your property.
4.2. Can cattle I have sent to agistment on non-accredited properties return to my property?
If you wish to agist EUCAS accredited cattle on a non-EUCAS accredited property, please contact the EUCAS helpline on 1800 305 544 for further information.
5. Other markets
5.1. Are my sales to other (non-eu) markets affected?
You will still be able to sell EUCAS cattle to non-accredited properties and to abattoirs that are not EU-listed. You will still be able to sell cattle to markets that do not require HGP-free beef, however your cattle should be HGP free. However, once your cattle have left the EUCAS scheme, they will not be allowed to regain their status as EU-eligible.
You are also required to notify the NLIS database if you sell EUCAS cattle to non-accredited properties or through non-accredited saleyards and to non-EU listed abattoirs.
6.1. Will I be able to sell EUCAS cattle through saleyards?
EUCAS cattle are permitted to be sold through saleyards. If you wish for your cattle to retain their EUCAS eligible status, you must consign the cattle on a European Union Vendor Declaration and ensure that the saleyard you are selling your cattle through is EUCAS accredited.
If cattle are sold through a non-EUCAS accredited saleyard, the cattle will lose their EUCAS eligibility.
7. Loss of Accreditation
7.1. How do I lose my accreditation?
Your EUCAS accreditation can be revoked if you are found to be in non-compliance with the conditions of your accreditation or if you have made false declarations on your European Union Vendor Declaration forms.
The conditions of your accreditation can be found in the Export Control (Meat and Meat Products Rules) 2021.
If you are unable to meet the conditions of your accreditation at any time, please contact the department on 1800 305 544.
7.2. Once accredited, can I choose in the future not to be accredited?
Yes, you can choose to withdraw from the scheme at any time. To withdraw from the scheme, the accredited manager of the property must notify the department in writing of their intention, prior to doing anything that is contrary to the conditions within EUCAS.
8. Further information
Please contact the EUCAS Helpline Monday to Friday 8:00am – 4:00pm on 1800 305 544 for information regarding the EU rules, accreditation, change of management etc. For help with the NLIS database, information on EU Vendor Declaration books and ordering NLIS devices, please phone the NLIS Helpline on 1800 654 743.