Official ID for Dairy Cattle – It’s the Law!
By Rebecca Campagna, DVM MPH
Pursuant to Section 831.5 of Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations, as of April 1,
2017, dairy cattle moving within California are required to have official identification (ID). Official ID
tags include metal silver brite tags or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Dairy cattle born in
California after January 1, 2017 must have official ID tags placed prior to leaving their birth premises
and all dairy cattle, regardless of birth year, must have official ID tags on change of ownership.
Dairy cattle are exempt from this requirement if they are moving:
• Directly to slaughter or
• Directly to an “Approved Tagging Site” where they are identified upon arrival on behalf of their
Approved Tagging Sites (ATS) are typically age-source verified calf ranches and some saleyards.
Calf haulers are not Approved Tagging Sites.
Not following the law leads to fines
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is enforcing these requirements.
Persons in violation of these identification requirements (including the dairy of origin, calf
hauler, or non-exempt receiver) are in violation of our regulations and will be issued a Notice
of Violation. Anyone who continues to not comply with these requirements will be issued a
citation, which carries a criminal charge and will show up on that individual’s record.
Official ID tags are available from your veterinarian or CDFA
Producers can obtain free official ID tags from their accredited veterinarian and from local Animal Health Branch (AHB) district offices. Contact your veterinarian for more information about
the use of RFID tags for official identification and management purposes.
Please contact CDFA AHB for more information or with any questions about official identification
CDFA’s website: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/animal_health
For a complete summary of California’s Animal Disease Traceability regulations, including identification and documentation requirements for cattle, please visit: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/
CDFA AHB Offices:
Sacramento Headquarters: 916-900-5002; Redding: 530-225-2140; Modesto: 209-491-9350
Tulare: 559-685-3500; Ontario: 909-947-4462. We thank those producers who are currently in compliance with the official ID regulations for their continued cooperation and support of animal disease traceability in California.