Iowa pork producers have succeeded in establishing a new milestone as 15,000 Iowa pork producers, employees and others involved in the pork industry have been certified through the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program.

PQA Plus was formed in 2007 as a continuous improvement program based on 10 good production practices in the areas of food safety and animal well-being. Individuals become certified through an education program. Following certification, producers invite PQA Plus advisors to conduct an objective assessment of practices on the farm and work with the advisor to make improvements.

Individual certification and site assessments must be completed every three years to maintain PQA Plus certification and site status.

A random sample of assessed sites is selected annually for third-party verification of the program. Data from this verification will be used to help determine necessary areas for improvement and increase producer education.

More than 5,800 Iowa pork production sites have also completed the site assessment portion of PQA Plus. More than 80% of U.S. pork currently originates from a PQA Plus-assessed site, according to the National Pork Board.

Another nearly 8,000 Iowa pig handlers have completed the Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) training.

“PQA Plus helps show everyone we care about our animals and the safety of food we produce. It helps us continually educate our producers and employees and contributes to continuous improvement of our industry,” says Bill Tentinger, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA). “By demonstrating their dedication to PQA Plus, TQA and other continuous improvement programs, Iowa pork producers have shown they take great pride in providing a safe, wholesome and healthy product for people around the world.”

PQA Plus is part of the We Care responsible pork initiative that outlines ethical principles for pork producers to produce safe food, protect and promote animal well-being, protect public health, safeguard natural resources, provide a safe work environment and contribute to a better quality of life.

To learn more about PQA Plus, We Care or other IPPA producer education programs, contact Tyler Bettin at (800) 372-7675 or tbettin@iowapork.org.