Northern Ireland’s replacement for the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS) is set to go live on Monday (September 4) after months of delays.

The Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System (NIFAIS) will replace APHIS as the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA‘s) traceability and disease control system in Northern Ireland.

The NIFAIS was originally due to launch on June 12, but it was postponed to facilitate “further testing and integration with industry IT systems”.

Stage one of the new system will go live on Monday, with stage two not expected to go live until 2024.

This first stage will include keeper registration and tag suppliers (already live); bovine disease tracing; import and export; valuations; AFIB milk functionality; IRM; cattle identity inspections; residues; VPHP; and farm quality assurance.

DAERA said a reduced APHIS remains available for other species and will be supported until NIFAIS stage two is successfully delivered. 

Stage two will cover other species and will include IRM; tracing; disease control; VPHP; welfare and enforcement; sample plans; residues; ARIB; and cross compliance.

TB testing

Restrictions on testing for bovine tuberculosis (TB) will remain in place until September 11, 2023, to “reduce the risk of data loss or corruption” during the moving of bovine data from APHIS to NIFAIS, DAERA said.

No testing at all will take place on Monday, and only reactor herd testing will take place from Tuesday (September 5) until Saturday (September 9).

No testing took place at all this week in a bid to facilitate data migration between the systems.

The department said there may be a short delay in the removal of reactors due to a reduction in the processing of valuations on APHIS.

Any disruption, it said, will be kept to a minimum and reactors must remain isolated until removed.

“DAERA will be working with all parties to ensure any delays in paying compensation are minimised,” it said.

Tag suppliers have been warned that they will have restricted access to NIFAIS this weekend (September 2-3).


Before the postponement in June, the department had enforced a reduction of on-farm bovine TB testing as a result of the migration of data to NIFAIS.

It “immediately revoked” this after it postponed the launching of NIFAIS.

At the time, the department apologised for the inconvenience caused by the delay of the NIFAIS launch, and said it would communicate a new launch date to all stakeholders when it was agreed.

“This will not be before July 2023, as time is needed to introduce a further TB testing pause around the new date,” DAERA said.

It added that NIFAIS is an important animal disease and traceability system that will underpin the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland.

“It is important that all users are satisfied that they can interact fully with it to deliver for farmers and customers,” the department said.

“This interaction includes development of IT systems that will consume or send data back to NIFAIS.

“A short delay will allow all users to confirm their systems are fully integrated and that they have the assurance necessary around traceability of local products.”