If even one needle stays in a pork product and makes it to a consumer’s plate, you risk losing at least one, and more likely several customers for life.

That’s why the pork chain must work from the farm to the plate to eliminate physical hazards in pork products, says Paul Sundberg, National Pork Producers Council’s assistant vice president of veterinary issues.

“The important thing for producers to know is that research shows that needles won’t break, unless they are bent and re-straightened,” says Sundberg. “So, if a needle bends, take it off and use a new one.”

To prevent needles from bending, Sundberg suggests you start by always using a sharp needle. That means changing them often. Also, minimize pig movement during the task to ensure a smooth injection.

If you do break a needle, you should know your packer’s policy on such matters. Your packer will likely want you to permanently identify the hog and inform the buyer once it arrives at market. Packers have special handling procedures for such animals and their carcasses.

For more information on proper needle selection and use or the Pork Quality Assurance Program, call NPPCat (800) 456-7675.