A NATIONAL sheep and lamb vendor declaration will be launched later this year after an industry working party decided on a format last week. The latest declaration to be launched into an environment where the number of company-based declarations within the sheep industry is increasing, including the recent temporary woolgrower declaration, it is expected to be launched in October. Decided by a working party including a cross section of the sheepmeat industry, including processors, producers, livestock agents and representatives from the state governments, the declaration is poised to become an important marketing tool for producers across the country. With uptake of the declaration being voluntary, working party chairman Bill Whitehead said the tightening of food safety assurance requirements by both importers and importing authorities meant that exporters in particular were likely to increase demand for a completed declaration as a condition of purchase. "The objective of launching a national vendor declaration for sheep is to create some uniformity and establish the vendor declaration as a new food safety assurance system, which will further enhance Australia's international reputation for supplying high quality, wholesome sheepmeat products," he said. Divided into three parts, the vendor declaration is not expected to clash with the current Flockcare system, with Mr Whitehead saying, "a natural synergy exists between the vendor declaration and Flockcare". "These systems will not compete against one another. Flockcare accredited producers will maintain records of veterinary and pasture treatments and these will underpin declarations made by producers," he said. Part A of the declaration will establish the identity of the vendor and the sheep being offered for sale, with vendors required to state the period off feed and water. Part B of the declaration involved questions relating to Flockcare accreditation, scabby mouth vaccinations, and whether all export slaughter intervals have been met, while Part C asks for buyer details.