Pork Quality Assurance Plus update to integrate ‘Take Care’


National Pork Board/Agri-View (WI)

January 17, 2013


Pork producers are naturally good animal caregivers, and part of this success is due to long-standing partnerships with herd veterinarians who help guide their decisions on judicious antibiotic use to best protect animal and public health. In the upcoming update of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program, slated for release at World Pork Expo, the historical Take Care Use Antibiotics Responsibly program will be fully integrated into the section on responsible antibiotic use.


Antibiotics are one tool that producers and their veterinarians can use at the farm level to help ensure herd health, said Jennifer Koeman, director of producer and public health for the Pork Checkoff.


“The newly updated section on antibiotics is designed to provide producers with a more integrated and comprehensive approach to responsible antibiotic use in the familiar context of PQA Plus,” she said.


In addition to the changes in antibiotic information in the PQA Plus program, you can expect a few other changes, while some things will remain the same.


Good Production Practices: Changes reflecting the inclusion of the We Care initiative will expand on practices related to the public health ethical principle and help establish environmental stewardship. Worker safety practices and other tools for continuous improvement also will be included.


Testing: The addition of a testing component will add credibility to the pork industry by displaying a commitment to continuous improvement and education. The open-book test will consist of no more than 25 questions related to animal well-being and pork safety. Participants will be able to miss three questions.


Online Certification: While first-time certifications must be obtained through face-to-face training with a PQA Plus advisor or trainer, individuals who wish to renew their PQA Plus certification will be able to do so online. Individuals will have to contact their PQA Plus advisor to set up and verify the online certification process. PQA Plus certifications will remain valid for a three-year time period.


Site Assessment: Site assessments are a crucial part of the PQA Plus certification program. Site certification shows a producer’s commitment and interest in producing a safe, high-quality product while promoting animal well-being and a safe environment. Upon completion of a site assessment, a producer must submit a corrective action plan for all non-compliances and follow-up with the PQA Plus advisor in order to receive site assessment status. The frequency of site assessments will remain at the three-year renewal time frame.


Trainers/Advisors Certifications: Trainer/advisor certifications will continue to be conducted face-to-face. This group of individuals is receiving extensive instructions and information needed to effectively instruct producers.


For more information, contact the Checkoff’s Mike King at mking@pork.org or at 515- 223-3532.


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