Thursday, April 25, 2024

Velvet ‘track and trace’ kicks in

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All deer farmers selling velvet this season must be registered with the deer industry’s new VelTrak system to meet export regulations. The industry is urging farmers to work with buyers as the mandatory VelTrak process for selling velvet kicks in for the 2021-22 season.
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All deer farmers selling velvet this season must be registered with the deer industry’s new VelTrak system to meet export regulations.

The industry is urging farmers to work with buyers as the mandatory VelTrak process for selling velvet kicks in for the 2021-22 season.

The new electronic track and trace system for velvet is set to make life easier for deer farmers while also providing proof of integrity.

Fully electronic, the VelTrak web-based system enables velvet to be tracked and traced each step of the way from the farm to the market, and vice-versa.

It means farmers will not be required to record tag numbers, fill out paper velvet status declarations (VSDs) or need to have a scanner.

Following a series of training workshops, velvet buyers, agents and packhouses from across the country are now familiar with the hand scanners they will be using to scan VelTrak tagged deer velvet this season.

Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) marketing manager Rhys Griffiths says the workshop training participants practiced scanning and raising farm VSDs.

“Almost everyone who will be using a scanner in the 2021-22 season attended,” Griffiths.

“There was a great atmosphere generally at the meetings and most are looking forward to the new season, even if some were understandably a little nervous about using the new technology.

“We tried to cover all possible scenarios and answer everyone’s questions.”

He says the scanners, technology and data storage systems used for VelTrak are reported to be very robust.

“But inevitably, as with all new technology, there could be some minor glitches as everyone gets up to speed with scanning, raising and approving VSDs,” he said.

“I ask farmers to bear with buyers as they get up to speed, particularly at the early stages, before long it will become second nature to them.”

He says farmers should also have confidence that once sticks have been scanned, the tag data is securely stored in the scanner.

VelTrak has been developed for the deer industry so that its velvet complies with the requirements of NZ and overseas regulators for rapid and accurate traceability of animal-based food products.

“This is its core function, but VelTrak has been designed so that it can be developed to add value to marketing campaigns in the future,” he said.

VelTrak has been welcomed by major health food companies in South Korea that are buying an increasing proportion of NZ velvet.

“It’s yet another example of deer industry innovation and our commitment to quality assurance,” he said.

DINZ QA general manager Rob Gregory says all deer farmers must be registered with VelTrak and be using the new black VelTrak UHF RFID tags to sell their velvet, starting this season.

All deer farms have been emailed invitations to register.

While most have done so, Gregory says a significant number have yet to respond.

Several farmers have registered, but have not completed the process, in particular, they have not selected a vet practice.

Selecting a vet practice is vital as when a farmer selects a preferred practice their farm name appears in that practice’s list of clients enabling the practice to order VelTrak tags on the farm’s behalf.

“If the farm hasn’t selected a vet practice, it won’t be able to get any black VelTrak tags,” Gregory said.

If a farmer is unsure whether they have done this, they should log on to https://veltrak.velvet.org.nz complete the information requested under business details and save their changes.

“I urge them to do so now or, if they don’t use email or can’t find the invitation, ring us on 0508 VELTRAK (0508 835 872) and we’ll help them sort it out,” he said.

VelTrak builds on the work done by farmers to upgrade their sheds and freezers to comply with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Regulated Control Scheme (RCS).

For farmers to sell their velvet into the human food chain, they must be registered with VelTrak and tag their velvet with the new VelTrak tags.

This applies to farmers who are NVSB-accredited to do their own velveting, as well as those who get a vet to do their velveting.

VelTrak underpins the premium position that NZ velvet now enjoys in South Korea.

“It will enhance our reputation as trusted producers when marketing our velvet to health food companies in China, Taiwan and elsewhere,” DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat said.

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