Two recent processes approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have given added confidence to U.S. pork producers and packers regarding the use of IMPROVEST (gonadotropin releasing factor analog – diphtheria toxoid conjugate). IMPROVEST, an immunological product, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the temporary immunological castration and reduction of boar taint in intact male pigs intended for slaughter.                                           

“The use of IMPROVEST is a major shift for the entire pork chain, and we voluntarily sought these extra approvals to help ensure that our customers have the utmost confidence using IMPROVEST,” says Gloria Basse, vice president, Zoetis, U.S. Pork Business Unit.

Process Verified Program Certification

The USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) verifies that the IMPROVEST Quality Management System (QMS), designed by Zoetis, assures that IMPROVEST is administered properly on the farm through a closely audited process. The IMPROVEST PVP documents and records farm employee training, and tracks and certifies all steps involved in administering IMPROVEST. Oversight is provided by Zoetis area application managers, quality assurance supervisors and Zoetis senior management.

The IMPROVEST PVP includes a certificate for delivery that carries a USDA Process Verified shield with IMPROVEST-managed hogs when transported to plants, which means the hogs can be traced back to confirm all process verified points. The USDA PVP ensures consistent auditing practices by companies that supply agricultural products or services. The process for IMPROVEST will be audited by the company quarterly, and by USDA annually, to confirm that Zoetis adheres to the defined PVP.  

Food Safety and Inspection Service Notice

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) notice informs inspection staff that hogs presented at harvest with the IMPROVEST Quality Assurance Certificate are to be classified as barrows and therefore do not warrant testing for off odors during inspection. Zoetis supported thorough education and training of both FSIS headquarter and regional inspectors on the characteristics and parameters by which IMPROVEST-managed pigs should be examined. Detailed training materials are available on the FSIS website for reference and for training of new inspection personnel.

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“These USDA approvals should instill confidence for producers, packers and in-plant inspection personnel that the IMPROVEST-managed process was followed and has met all expectations,” explains Gary Kahle, Improvest Quality Operations manager, Zoetis U.S. Pork Business Unit. “The education and training materials created by FSIS for its personnel will help assure consistency and efficiency across the country and among inspectors.”

More information about the USDA PVP for IMPROVEST can be found at the USDA's website; and information about the USDA FSIS notice is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISNotices/01-13.pdf.

About IMPROVEST

IMPROVEST is an FDA-approved veterinary prescription product that is a safe and effective alternative to physical castration. It is a protein compound that works like an immunization to protect against unpleasant aromas that can occur when cooking pork from some intact male pigs. It uses the pig's own immune system to provide the same effect as physical castration, but much later in the male pig's life than physical castration is traditionally done. For more information on how IMPROVEST works, visit www.IMPROVEST.com.

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