Quality Assurance and Training
Pig farmers actively engage with the scientific community, government agencies and food chain partners to create credible programs and stringent policies that advance pork safety. This collaboration has led to the development of forward-thinking programs that advance good farming practices to minimize food safety threats.
We Care® is built on a solid foundation training and certification including the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA® Plus) and Transport Quality Assurance® (TQA) programs, as well as the Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA).
Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus)
PQA Plus is a comprehensive food safety and animal well-being education, training and certification program. It is one of our most successful efforts and has become a model program in animal agriculture.
Through PQA Plus, farmers leverage best practices in food safety, animal care, public health, worker safety and the environment. They also participate in on-farm assessments to identify strengths and enhancement areas.
PQA Plus training and assessment includes pork safety topics, such as:
- Herd health management
- Veterinarian relationships
- Foreign animal disease awareness, reporting and prevention
- Proper medication administration and inventory
- Medication and treatment records
- Biosecurity and methods to restrict access
- Wildlife, rodent and other pest control procedures
Transport Quality Assurance (TQA)
Anyone who handles, transports or sets protocols for handling pigs can influence animal well-being and pork quality. TQA is a program that helps pig transporters, farmers and handlers understand how to handle, move and transport pigs, as well as the potential impacts on pig well-being and pork quality.
There are two types of workers certified through the TQA program:
- TQA Advisor: an individual trained by the Pork Checkoff who can offer certification training and administer exams to handlers.
- TQA Handler: an individual who receives certification to move, handle and transport pigs.
Common Swine Industry Audit
The Common Swine Industry Audit – an industry-wide program developed in partnership with organizations across the entire food chain – assures consumers of the care farmers and pork processors take to improve animal well-being and food safety. This audit tool expands on the existing PQA Plus program to serve as a single common audit platform for the pork industry. The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) certifies this audit.
The Common Swine Industry Audit is designed to:
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- Meet individual company and customer needs
- Be focused on outcome-based criteria that measure and improve animal welfare
- Provide clarity to producers about audit standards and expectations
- Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling
- Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application
- Provide an objective, science-based platform to facilitate continuous improvement in animal care