NLIS Standards

NLIS Standards

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of cattle, sheep and goats. It was introduced in 1999 to enhance Australia's ability to trace cattle during disease and food safety incidents, and was expanded to also include sheep and goats in 2009. NLIS reflects Australia’s commitment to biosecurity and food safety and provides a competitive advantage in a global market.

NLIS is endorsed by major producer, feedlot, agent, saleyard and processor bodies and is ISO 9001 certified. It is also underpinned by State/Territory legislation, which forms the regulatory framework for the system. 

Cattle Traceability Standards

The purpose of this Standard is to specify minimum standards that, if adhered to, will ensure the traceability of cattle for disease control and food safety purposes. The standards represent minimum mandatory requirements needed to ensure compliance with the National Livestock Traceability Performance Standards. Minimum standards support the harmonisation in legislation across jurisdictions. It is recognised that State/Territory legislation may impose more demanding requirements. Industry participants need to comply with relevant legislation in the jurisdiction in which they operate. 

Tag accreditation

Before tags and devices can become NLIS accredited, they must undergo a three-year field trial. During this time, if the tag/device meets performance criteria at prescribed intervals defined in the relevant standard, it may be awarded conditional accreditation. If a tag/device is conditionally NLIS accredited, the conditional status must be clearly marked on the tag manufacturer's packaging.

If the device continues to perform well throughout the three-year field trial, it will be awarded full NLIS accreditation.

If you wish to register a complaint regarding a device, please fill out a Device Complaint Form for cattle or sheep and goat devices and return it to NLIS, PO Box 1961, North Sydney NSW 2059, or to

For information relating to NLIS accredited pig tags, please go to and then look for the identification tab.

Types of equipment NLIS accredits

NLIS Ltd accredits devices and their applicators that meet performance standards, but no other forms of equipment (such as readers or scanners) can be NLIS-accredited. 

The NLIS Standards Committee reviews device standards and trial protocols as required. Once a review is finalised, the latest versions of these documents are published on this page and are applicable from the published effective date. You can access copies of the current RFID standard and visual tag standard from the Tools and Resources section below.

Tools & Resources