27595 PQA+ logo w-tag PMSIn 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.

Revised in 2013, Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) provides a framework for significant, relevant food safety standards and improved animal well-being. Due to pork producers’ commitment to continuous improvement, PQA Plus is regularly revised to increase its effectiveness, incorporate new research information, and ensure the program’s validity.Maintaining its food safety tradition to ensure U.S. pork products continue to be recognized domestically and internationally as the highest quality and safest available, PQA Plus also provides information to ensure producers can measure, track and continuously improve animal well-being.

2013 PQA Plus revisions:

  • Online Recertification: PQA Plus recertification will be available online if the producer has current certification. Initial certification under the revised program will require face-to-face training.
  • We Care Initiative: As revised, PQA Plus aligns more closely with We Care℠ Ethical Principles.
  • Testing: participants will now be required to pass a test by missing no more than three of the 25 questions.
  • Site Assessment: When the site assessment is completed, participating farms must submit a corrective action plan for all non-compliant findings then follow-up with a PQA Plus Advisor to receive site status.
  • Trainers/Advisors Certifications: During face-to-face training of Trainers and Advisors, more extensive instructions and information will be shared.
  • Implementation: All revisions to PQA Plus will be effective June 7, 2013.

New PQA Plus Certification (or recertification if expired) requires face-to-face training with a PQA Plus Advisor.

Renewal PQA Plus Certification can be completed through face-to-face or online training. To be eligible to re-certify through an online course/exam:

  • Contact a certified advisor before current certification expires
  • Provide the advisor with an email address for the purpose of sending online training instructions
  • Complete online training within 30 days of receiving access to train


National Pork Board may modify, amend or terminate the TQA®, Youth PQA Plus®, PQA Plus® and all other certification programs without notice. Further, the Board in its sole discretion may terminate or condition a participant’s continued eligibility for, participation in, and/or use of any rights, license or benefits under such program(s).