More and more consumers are becoming concerned with how their food is raised and what they are feeding their families. Pork producers are continuously looking for ways to improve their production and increase the safety of the product that they are delivering. The Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) Program is a voluntary program that farmers and swine farm employees regularly participate in.
The PQA Plus program focuses on 10 good production practices and provides participates with an opportunity for continuing education on producing save and wholesome pork products. .
The major focuses of the PQA program are food safety and animal well-being. The 10 Good Production Practices (GPPs) that make up the assurance program concentrate on the following areas:
- Establish and implement an efficient and effective herd health management plan.
- Use a veterinarian/client/patient relationship as the basis for medication decision-making.
- Use antibiotics responsibly.
- Identify and track all treated animals.
- Maintain medication and treatment records.
- Properly store, label and account for all drug products and medicated feeds.
- Educate all animal caretakers on proper administration techniques, needle-use procedures, observance of withdrawal times and methods to avoid marketing adulterated products.
- Follow appropriate on-farm feed processing and commercial feed processor procedures.
- Develop, implement and document an animal caretaker training program.
- Provide proper swine care to improve swine well-being.
By following the 10 GPPs and participating in the PQA Plus program pork producers are indicating their dedication to the production of safe and wholesome pork products. Farmers are conscious of the impact their production practices have on the end product and continuously strive to make their product a safe and wholesome food choice for the consumer.
PQA Plus programs are offered on an annual basis and as needed by Michigan State University Extension educators. PQA Plus programs have been scheduled prior to the MSUE Pork winter meetings:
- Jan. 16, 2013 – Allegan
- Jan. 17 – Cass County
- Jan. 30 – Branch County
- Jan. 31 – Isabella County
All of the PQA Plus meetings are scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. A complete list of upcoming programs can be found on the MSU Pork Team website.
The PQA+ program, combined with the proper handling and cooking of pork products at home provide a safe quality protein source for families. For more information on proper handling and cooking of pork products visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website.