The Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus program was unveiled at the National Pork Industry Forum in Anaheim, CA, March 3.

“Consumers care about animal well-being. They can’t define it, but they expect it,” says Hugh Dorminy, a PQA Plus task force member and past president of the National Pork Board. “Producers also care about animal well-being. It’s about who we are and it’s our moral and ethical obligation as well as good business practice.”

Funded by the pork checkoff, PQA Plus is the result of more than a year of work by pork producers, packers-processors, restaurants and retailers under the umbrella of the Pork Industry Animal Care Coalition.

The coalition’s solution was to incorporate an animal well-being component, mainly the pork checkoff’s Swine Welfare Assurance Program, into the Pork Quality Assurance certification program. The solution calls for a continuous improvement system focused on producer education, certification and premises assessment. An audit of a representative sample of sites lends credibility to the program.

The program will launch at World Pork Expo in June and features a three-year implementation period. More information can be found at www.pork.org and click on the producer information tab or call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675.