The National Pork Board recognizes Hormel Foods for its commitment to the Pork Quality Assurance Plus® (PQA Plus®) and Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA®) programs. Hormel Foods recently announced that all hogs purchased by Dec. 31, 2009, will be raised by pork producers and their employees who are certified in PQA Plus, have completed well-being assessments on their farms and have TQA certification.

"This action reaffirms pork producers' commitment to the U.S. pork industry and its customers," said Tim Bierman, a PQA Plus-certified pork producer from Larrabee, Iowa and National Pork Board member. "We are extremely pleased that Hormel Foods has joined in the pork industry's effort to focus on the 'We Care' pork industry responsible pork initiative by requiring PQA Plus certification and site status."

PQA Plus is a three-part process. It includes attending an educational and training session as well as an on-farm site evaluation to achieve PQA Plus site status. The program also includes a third component of random, statistically valid, third-party evaluation of program implementation. Results of those evaluations will show if the industry is improving its overall animal-care practices. There are over 20,000 pork producers who have been certified in PQA Plus to-date. 

"We are also honored to fully support the pork industry's new responsible pork initiative called 'We Care'," said Brian Stevens, director of pork procurement, Hormel Foods. "Pork producers do care about retaining the public trust and they demonstrate this by doing things right through their ethical principles. We are encouraging all pork producers to support this great pork industry initiative supported by the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board."

Bierman echoed Steven's comments, "Producers' belief in ethical principles and their participation in PQA Plus and the TQA program are proof of our commitment to producing safe pork and prioritizing the well-being of our animals and the development of our communities."

Hormel Foods joins Hatfield Quality Meats of Hatfield, Pa. and Salmon Creek Farms Marketing Association and Independent Meat Company of Twin Falls, Idaho in showing their commitment of PQA Plus.

The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management. For information on Checkoff-funded programs, pork producers can call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-PORK or check the Internet at  www.pork.org.              

Source: National Pork Board news release