The American Berkshire Association has received USDA's Process Verified designation for a quality meat-delivery system. This makes the ABA first U.S. swine breed organization to attain the verification.

The Agricultural Marketing Service approved ABA's 100 percent Pure Berkshire Program following a mid-October field audit, reviewing the program's documentation and operations. ABA's verified designation was effective Nov. 14, 2003, and is valid through April 14, 2004, when the results of a follow-up audit will be completed.
      
ABA's 100 percent Pure Berkshire Pork program makes three claims:

  • All pork in the program is pure Berkshire pork– the parents of all market animal sold in the pjrogram are purebred, pedigreed Berkshires.
  • Each day's production can be traced back to the farms where the pigs were raised. 
  •  All pork is produced according to National Pork Board's Pork Quality Assurance Program Level III of its Good Production Practices.

Under the ISO-9000-based Processed Verified Program rules, the sponsoring organization develops parameters, documentation and forms to track product through the production and processing system, then trains participants. Third-party auditors from AMS' review program ensures that the standards are met and the claims are valid. More information is available at the AMS Web site: http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/arc/prover.htm.

"It's taken nearly two years to develop and implement the program, and then to submit documentation to USDA and get approval," says Mike Hodges, Julian, Neb., ABA board president. "We wanted to make the program meaningful to customers and doable for Berkshire breeders who want to get involved."

He says ABA expects to expand the roster of participating Berskshire producers and packer-processor partners at a deliberate pace.

For more information about ABA, its programs and producers, go to www.americanberkshire.com.

Source: American Berkshire Association