Objectives To evaluate the implementation and barriers to adoption, among pig producers, of a newly introduced traceability and food safety system in Australia. Procedure Implementation of the PigPass national vendor declaration (NVD) linked to an on-farm quality assurance (QA) program was evaluated in May and December 2007 at saleyards and abattoirs in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Four focus group discussions with saleyard producers were held between April and July 2007. Results Implementation of the PigPass system in terms of accurate completion of the form and QA accreditation was higher at the export abattoir than at the regional saleyard at the first audit (P < 0.01). Implementation increased at the second audit at the abattoirs, but little change with time was observed at saleyards. Approximately half of the producers at saleyards used photocopied PigPass forms, made at least one error (>64%), and many vendors did not appear to be QA-accredited. During focus groups, producers expressed the view that PigPass implementation improved animal and product traceability. They identified the associated costs and a perceived lack of support by information providers as obstacles for adoption. Conclusion Improvement in the implementation of PigPass among producers marketing pigs at export abattoirs was observed during the 8-month period of the study. There is a need for a more uniform message to producers from government agencies on the importance of the PigPass NVD and QA and extension and education targeted toward producers supplying pigs to saleyards and domestic abattoirs to ensure compliance with the traceability requirements.