Slaughterhouses are now required to ask for specific information about the calves they receive for slaughter, under new regulations implemented by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The legal requirement for Food Chain Information (FCI) for calves - which are defined as animals under eight months of age - came into effect on 1 January 2009.
FCI includes information about the farm which the calves came from, their history of rearing and their health - including details of medicines they have received. The responsibility for obtaining the information lies with the slaughterhouse operators.
Kenneth Clarke, FSA veterinary adviser, said: "Food chain information is an important element of the farm-to-fork approach to food safety and can contribute to the application of risk-based inspection systems at slaughterhouses."
The Agency has worked with slaughterhouse operators and other stakeholders to produce guidance on how to meet the new requirements. Details of this guidance and background to the FCI regulations can be found on the FSA's website at www.food.gov.uk.
"We wish to encourage slaughterhouse operators to use the guidance we have published to develop FCI systems that best suit their businesses," said Clarke.
FCI regulations have applied to pigs since 2008 and will be implemented for all cattle and sheep in 2010.