Pork Announces New Common Industry Audit Platform
After more than a year of industry collaboration, the National Pork Board announced shared plans for a new common industry audit platform for America’s pig farmers, packers and processors at World Pork Expo. The program will expand on the existing Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program to serve as a single, common audit platform for the pork industry.
The overarching goal of the common audit process is to assure foodservice operators and consumers that farmers and pork processors are working to improve animal care and food safety. Introduced at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum, the common audit resolution directed the National Pork Board to convene a coalition of packers and farmers to explore a credible and affordable solution for improving animal well-being.
“As an industry, we know that our consumers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry’s quality assurance processes and procedures,” said Chris Novak, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board. “We are encouraged by the broad support we have received from all our industry’s partners to develop the framework for this process.”
The common platform announced seeks to create and standardize a common process that will:
- Meet individual company and customer needs
- Be focused on outcome-based criteria that measure and improve animal welfare
- Provide clarity to pig farmers with regard to audit standards and expectations
- Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling
- Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application
The new common audit framework has several key components, including a new audit tool, requirements for auditor training and biosecurity, and a platform that will allow audit results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits. It is currently being beta-tested on farms across the country. The Task Force will review the results of this test in early July before finalizing the audit.
“What’s exciting about this common audit framework is that it has truly been the industry coming together to better serve the needs of farmers, customers, and consumers,” said Novak. “This is not a new Pork Checkoff program, but rather an initiative that will be led by farmers and packers working together to enhance animal care. We’re grateful to the packers who have been members of this Task Force for their leadership with this effort.”
The Industry Audit Task Force included pig farmers, veterinarians representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, as well as pork packer representatives from Cargill, Smithfield-Farmland, Hatfield, Hormel, JBS, Seaboard, Triumph, and Tyson.
We will continue to share updates on the development of the common industry audit platform. Meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or requests for more information.