The pork industry's Pork Quality Assurance Plus is now available and ready for action.
“The pork industry is working on programs that will demonstrate to our customers our accountability, trust and social responsibility in pork production,” says Wayne Peugh, a pork producer from Edelstein, Ill. and National Pork Board president. “NPB is working to provide producers with tools and PQA Plus will serve as a foundation to help meet that challenge.”
Pork Quality Assurance Plus incorporates an animal well-being component-- mainly, NPB's Swine Welfare Assurance Program, into the Pork Quality Assurance certification program. The result is a program focused on continuous improvement, producer education, certification and premises assessment. As a multiple-stage program, an audit of representative sites will extend even more credibility to the program.
The first class of producers was trained last week at World Pork Expo.
In addition to pork producers’ willingness to adapt PQA Plus, acceptance by those in the pork industry is critical. veterinarians, through the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, have helped develop and test PQA Plus.
“AASV is pleased to support the new PQA Plus program,” says Daryl Olsen, AASV president. “Practitioners and producers will continue to rely on the framework provided by the new program in maintaining high standards for judicious antibiotic use, residue avoidance, health management and welfare assurance.”
The program is available to producers running sizes and styles of production systems; it has been beta tested on a variety of pilot farms. “As with any new program, we ran into a few challenges,” says Larry McMullen, Iowa State University Extension swine field specialist. “The challenges were addressed and resulted in a PQA Plus program that accommodates production methods resulting in positive well-being to animals and allowing for production efficiency.”
A nationwide network of trained and certified advisors will work with pork producers to help them achieve PQA Plus certification. The certification will be good for three years, when it must be renewed. Producers currently certified in PQA Level III will continue to be certified until their current certification expires. However, all producers are encouraged to obtain PQA Plus certification at any time.
“Pork producers have always cared for our animals and now we have a way to demonstrate that care to others,” says Peugh. “I encourage pork producers to achieve PQA Plus certification because it is the right thing to do.”
For more information on the PQA Plus program call NPB's Service Center at (800) 456-Pork. Additional information also is available by following this link.
Source: National Pork Board