USDA Approves RFID System for Animal Identification Program

SO. ST. PAUL, MN /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Digital Angel Corp., an advanced technology company in the field of rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets, announced that its electronic RFID (radio frequency identification) livestock tagging system has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for use in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Digital Angel is the first animal tag manufacturer to be designated as an Animal Identification (AIN) tag manufacturer by the USDA, which signifies that the company's tagging system is capable of identifying livestock with the unique, lifetime animal identification number that is being established as a national standard through the NAIS.

The NAIS, a cooperative program between the state and federal governments and the livestock industry to help trace, manage, and eradicate animal diseases like Mad Cow Disease, Foot and Mouth Disease, Pseudo-Rabies Disease, and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome in pigs, is being run by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS launched the voluntary NAIS in 2004 with the premises registration system and is now continuing its advancement by implementing the animal identification component. While USDA has established visual tags as the minimum standard for some species, cattle for example, producers can elect to use ear tags with RFID technology incased in the official identification tags.

"This is a stamp of approval and an important acknowledgement of the integrity of our tagging system," said Digital Angel president and CEO Kevin N. McGrath. "The USDA underwent a thorough review of our identification tags and came away convinced that we can produce livestock tags that are up to its standards, but also ensure the uniqueness of the numbers attributed to individual animals that assist in tracking the animal's origin and movement throughout its life. The flexibility to use the AIN tags in other programs outside the scope of NAIS, like source and age verification programs as well as basic management practices, provides the opportunity for producers to fully utilize the capability of our electronic ear tags."

Digital Angel, which has been in the livestock tagging business since 1945, has developed a proprietary and comprehensive RFID traceability system that includes electronic tags and scanners as well as a related IT system that can provide for the identification and tracking of all animals tagged as part of the NAIS. The target date for having all livestock identified that are covered in the NAIS guidelines is early 2009.

Digital Angel sells its electronic tags under the brand names e.Tag and Destron Combo e.Tag.

About Digital Angel Corp.
Digital Angel Corp. develops and deploys sensor and communications technologies that enable rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets. Applications of the company's products include identification and monitoring of humans, pets, fish, poultry, and livestock through its patented implantable microchips; location tracking and message monitoring of vehicles and aircraft in remote locations through systems that integrate GPS and geosynchronous satellite communications; and monitoring of asset conditions, such as temperature and movement, through advanced miniature sensors. Digital Angel Corp. is majority-owned by Applied Digital Inc. For more information about Digital Angel, please visit the company's Web site.

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