COLUMBUS – The Ohio Pork Producers Council and National Pork Board have introduced the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, which represents a significant expansion of the industry’s ongoing quality assurance efforts and an increase in the program’s focus on animal care.
Since its introduction in 1989, Pork Quality Assurance has been the industry’s flagship educational program.
Expansion. The expanded program incorporates elements of animal well-being and site assessment components as enhancements to the original program.
Pork Quality Assurance Plus is a multilevel, voluntary producer education program created to assure consumers they are purchasing the highest quality, safest pork products possible and that those products are produced in a humane manner.
Ohio’s pork producers can only be certified for the program if they participate in training, exams and site assessments.
The Ohio Pork Producers Council’s board of directors, made up of pork producers from across the state, participated in certification training Sept. 10.
Elements. The Pork Quality Assurance Plus program has two main elements: food safety and animal well-being.
Food safety practices focus on minimizing any physical, chemical or biological hazards that might be harmful to consumers.
Animal well-being encompasses producer responsibilities for all aspects of farm animal care, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care and humane handling.
Pork Quality Assurance Plus also provides Ohio’s pork producers with information about on-farm Good Production Practices for the promotion of pork safety and pig well-being.
These 10 practices, when implemented, will lead to more efficiently run operations and help ensure consumer confidence in individual pork producers and the entire Ohio pork industry.
Practices. Among the 10 pork production practices being promoted are those that focus on: the use of antibiotics and other medications, coordination of veterinary care, proper record keeping, feed planning, and the education of those farm workers with direct responsibility for animal care, including an Animal Caretaker Training Program.
To become Pork Quality Assurance Plus certified, individuals must attend a training session on the 10 Pork Quality Assurance Plus Good Production Practices conducted by an approved adviser.
After receiving Pork Quality Assurance Plus certification, producers may obtain Pork Quality Assurance Plus Site status by having an on-site assessment of animal care issues.
Site assessments are valid for three years after the issuance of Pork Quality Assurance Plus certification.
Retraining and completion and passage of an examination are required for re-endorsement.
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