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Voluntary program helps producers assure food safety

by 5m Editor
21 June 2007, at 11:33am

DES MOINES - The National Pork Board is encouraging producers to choose PQA Plus when they renew thier Pork Quality Assurance® (PQA) certificates. The enhanced certificate from the Pork Checkoff offer a new, voluntary solution to assure food safety and good animal care.

“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, National Pork Board president and pig producer from Edelstein, Illonois.

He helped promote the new program at the 2007 World Pork Expo and says that PQA Plus will serve as a foundation to help meet quality and food safety challenges.

As the pork industry’s customers have increased their requests for documentation of animal care and well-being on the farm, the Pork Checkoff has combined the core food safety-related content from the PQA program with the on-farm animal care and well-being components of the Swine Welfare Assure Program® (SWAP®).

PQA Plus, which is composed of 10 Good Production Practices (GPPs) and an on-farm animal well-being assessment, will provide a workable, credible and affordable solution, said Erik Risa, manager of certification programs for the National Pork Board.

To enable every producers take advantage of the PQA Plus program, the Pork Checkoff has been conducting tests on pilot farms.

"As with any new program, we faced a few challenges, but these have been addressed and resulted in a PQA Plus program that fosters well-being for animals and allows for production efficiency," ," said Larry McMullen, a swine field specialist with Iowa State University.

To become PQA Plus certified producers must complete a PQA Plus training session. The certificate is valid for three years, then members must re-apply.

Additional training, to obtain a site self-assessment endorsemement is also available. This qualification allows producers to conduct a PQA Plus site self-assessment of an operation that they either own or manage. This is also valid for up to three years but does expires on the same date as a PQA Plus certification, regardless of the date of endorsement.

For more information, go to http://www.pork.org/Producers/PQA/PQAPlus.aspx

5m Editor