SAIT houses North America's first ICAR-accredited test lab
Animal-tracking equipment testing just got significantly easier for North American companies with the accreditation of a new lab at SAIT.
The post-secondary is now home to an International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) test lab - the third of its kind in the world and the first to test tag performance at -35 C.
The first RFID test lab in North America, animal-tag manufacturers can now certify locally rather than in Europe. Electronic animal tags are critical for ranchers to keep track of their livestock and also allow food producers to trace back to the original product source.
"Traceability improves the safety, quality and marketability of Canadian beef products, and testing that equipment is one of the most creative and important activities a company can do," says Bob Davies, project lead and quality manager with SAIT's Applied Research and Innovation Services (ARIS). SAIT has been developing animal tags through its RFID research area for eight years.
SAIT students learn a global industry
Davies says having the lab based at SAIT also provides additional learning opportunities for students.
"Doing high-quality tests at SAIT will enhance students' education. Those who are interested will learn what an exemplar lab looks like and gain experience in quality testing," he says.
Ken Evers, chairman of ICAR's animal-identification subcommittee, says a test lab in an educational setting presents unique opportunities. "Canada is one of the world leaders in animal identification. It's only right that a country such as Canada ... have its own laboratory to test those devices."
ICAR says the volume of testing and the number of animal-identification devices has increased since 2007 following a World Trade Organization agreement that food has to be traced back to its origin.
The RFID Test Lab is accredited by the International Standards Organization (ISO) and has the capability to test tag durability at - 35 C, meeting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's suggested cold-weather performance requirements.
SAIT received $475,000 from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) to custom develop the software and hardware for the lab.