Changes to Pork Quality Assurance Plus

COLUMBUS — As the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program goes through changes, state PQA Plus trainers have learned that they are still able to certify producers on the current version through July and after that all certifications will be on the new PQA Plus version 2.0.

The goal is to get any expired certifications renewed before the end of July. Any expired or new certifications after July will be required to attend a face to face training session and take an exam. For producers to avoid having to attend a face to face training and exam, there are going to be three opportunities for re-certification via a simple teleconference: June 25 from noon-1:30 p.m. and again from 8-9:30 p.m.Also, July 17 from 8-9:30 p.m. To take advantage of this opportunity, register with Dale Ricker by emailing ricker.37@osu.edu or call 419-523-6294.

As public interest in the food industry grows, it has never been more important for pork producers to embrace the opportunity to show their commitment to providing a safe, quality product while promoting animal well-being and environmental friendliness.

With additional components and improved processes, it is more important than ever to recertify by June of 2013. These enhancements include:• Testing. The addition of a testing component to the PQA Plus certification adds credibility to the pork industry by displaying a commitment to continuous improvement and education. The test will consist of questions related to animal well-being and pork safety and will be no longer than 25 questions. In order to pass the open book test, participants may 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 must 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, quality product while at the same time 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 more extensive instructions

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