The new version of the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program incorporates the 10 Good Production Practices to align more closely with the We Care initiative and an online recertification option for participants.

“While the focus remains on animal care and producing safe food, the new PQA Plus program also highlights the importance of protecting public health, safeguarding natural resources and providing a safe work environment,” says Bill Winkelman, vice president of producer and industry relations for the Pork Checkoff.

PQA Plus was first introduced in 1989 and has been revised every three years. The new version debuted at World Pork Expo.

“Updates to the 2013 PQA Plus program strengthen its credibility and address the changing needs of the pork industry,” says Phil Borgic, an Illinois pork producer.

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Enhancements to the latest version of the PQA Plus program include:

Testing
Participants must pass a 25 question test related to the 10 Good Production Practices focusing on animal well-being and pork safety. Participants can miss no more than three questions on the open-book test.

“While PQA Plus remains an education program, producers wanted to take it to the next level,” Winkelman says. “Adding a testing component reinforces the learning objectives, similar to the Pork Checkoff’s successful Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) program.”

Online Certification
Recertification is available online after receiving face-to-face training with a PQA Plus advisor or trainer for first-time certification. Participants can contact their PQA Plus advisor to review the training and take the test electronically.

Site Assessments
After completing a site assessment, producers may need to submit a corrective action plan for non-compliance items and follow up with their PQA Plus advisor to receive site assessment status.

Trainer/Advisor Certifications
PQA Plus program trainers and advisors are receiving more extensive instructions and information to assist producers more effectively. Trainer/advisor certifications will continue to be conducted in person.

“All advisor certifications expire in August of 2013,” says Dinah Peebles, manager of certification programs for the Pork Checkoff. “Trainers and advisors will need to be trained on the new, revised PQA Plus program.”

More information on the revised PQA Plus program is available at www.pork.org/certification.

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