Pork Quality Assurance Program

In 1989, pork producers developed the Pork Quality Assurance® program, a producer education and certification program to reduce the risk of violative animal health product residues in pork. In 2007, the program was enhanced and became known as Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus®). PQA Plus is a producer-driven program they can use to ensure U.S. pork products are of the highest quality and safe, and animals raised for food are cared for in a way ensuring their well-being. Modeled after the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs used by food manufacturers to ensure the safety of food products, PQA was then customized for on-farm use. It was designed to identify practices with potential to result in a food safety hazard and minimize this potential risk through producer education of relevant on-farm practices.

The success of the program was demonstrated by significant producer participation, customer acceptance and more importantly, a measurable reduction in the instances of violative residues in pork. The program was revised repeatedly, approximately every three years, with updated content taken from new scientific knowledge, and to address the evolving industry and changing production practices. As consumers show greater interest in the attributes of the products they purchase for food, their interest in the well-being of the animals raised by pork producers has come to the forefront. Producers understand this and since the mid- 1990s have had programs and educational materials in place to help them care for their animals in a manner that promotes animal well-being.

The updated program reflects pork producers’ commitment to continuous improvement and more fully incorporates the six We Care? ethical principles and the role of caretakers. Revisions to the Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program were announced during World Pork Expo 2016.