The Pork Checkoff at the World Pork Expo this week announced changes to the voluntary Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.
The changes, the Checkoff says, would align the program more closely with the We Care initiative. Revisions to PQA Plus are effective June 7, 2013.
The program will now require participants to pass a test on questions related to good production practices with a minimum score (recertification will be available); submit a corrective action plan for any non-compliant findings following site assessments; and receive more information and instructions if a trainer or advisor.
The Checkoff says those who have reviewed the new program are pleased with the changes.
"There are so many outside influences affecting how we do business, I think for any industry to come together and realize there needs to be a training tool to say, 'These are our set industry practices and standards.' and self-regulate is very positive," says Emily Erickson, New Fashion Pork.
Jan Archer, a farmer from North Carolina, sees additional benefits to PQA Plus as well. "All of our employees are on same page, use the same vocabulary, and understand our common issues," she says.
"It's a way for us to impress on our employees how important what they do every day is. We are all focused, pulling in the same direction."
PQA Plus has evolved since its introduction in 1989 with regular revisions and updates to increase its effectiveness, incorporate new research information, and ensure the program's validity with customers, the Checkoff says.
"We feel it's an important program to help us ensure we're doing the right thing and that we're meeting our quality standards," said Mike Faga, Iowa Select Farms. "It's widely accepted by the packing community and the customers as well who buy our product."
For more info, visit www.pork.org/certification.
Source: National Pork Board