PQA Plus is an educational program representing the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement of production practices. It addresses food safety, animal well-being, environmental stewardship, worker safety, public health and community.
There are two components to PQA Plus. First, individuals can become certified through an education program. Second, farms can receive PQA Plus site status through an on-farm site assessment with a PQA Plus Advisor. PQA Plus is the industry’s way of demonstrating accountability for the pork produced, as well as a solution to customers’ (restaurants, food retailers and consumers) concerns over food safety and animal well-being.

First-time Certification: The first-time certification provides new caretakers with the basic knowledge and education needed to work in the industry. This set 75-minute presentation includes core content needed to be successful in the industry.

Recertification: The recertification training allows experienced caretakers the opportunity to renew their certification in a scenario-based setting with their advisor or online.

Customized Presentations: Advisors can customize a portion of the training to fit the caretaker or group, based upon experience and skills that need refreshed. Beyond the core training, additional content is available for advisors to focus on particular areas of production.

Testing: To be certified in PQA Plus, participants will be required to pass a test including questions related to 10 Good Production Practices (GPPs). Participants must achieve a passing score by missing no more than three of the 25 questions.

Online Certification: Producers may complete the first-time or recertification training online through the interactive learning modules. The online training modules are divided into the We Care ethical principles that range from 2-14 minutes each.

Site Assessment: The PQA Plus site assessment, which aligns with the Common Swine Industry Audit, helps prepare producers for third party auditors. The assessment covers animals, facilities, caretakers and records which highlight the 27 key aspects of swine care and pre-harvest pork safety for all phases of production.

Trainers/Advisors Certifications: During face-to-face training of Trainers and Advisors, more extensive instructions and information will be shared to increase farmer interaction during PQA Plus training.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Flexibility to the certification program allows for customization for larger systems to add in the company’s SOPs.

Implementation: All revisions to PQA Plus will be effective June 3, 2019.

Secure Pork Supply: To help producers prepare for a foreign animal disease, a Secure Pork Supply resource is included in this version of PQA Plus.

A PQA Plus Trainer eligibility is defined as one who is an animal scientist or veterinarian associated with a university, preferably with an extension appointment. On the rare occasion a state does not have that infrastructure, we are forced to look outside the university for a veterinarian who is independent of a pork producing company.

PQA Plus Advisor can be a veterinarian, university Extension specialist, or adult ag educator who conducts producer training and on-farm assessments. These individuals need a D.V.M. or B.S. or equivalent experience in Animal Science or associated field and have two years of recent, documentable swine production experience.

Producers become certified in PQA Plus by completing a face-to-face or online training conducted by an Advisor and passing the related test by missing no more than three questions out of 25. The test may be retaken twice in one session or attendance at another training session will be required.
Certification lasts three years. Producers with a current certification are valid until their renewal date. Their current certification does not expire with the revised program.
PQA Plus exemplifies the commitment of farmers to continuous improvement of their pig production practices. The process answers customers’ requests for significant, relevant food safety standards and improved animal welfare. The 2019 PQA Plus revision reflects the desire of pork producers to continually improve and meet higher standards.
Yes, producers must be at least 14 years of age before completing a PQA Plus training. Producers under the age of 14 can complete the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals training found at yqca.org.
To find a PQA Plus Advisor, producers can visit the PQA Plus website at www.pork.org/certification for more information. Producers also may call the Pork Checkoff Service Center at 800-456-7675.
Launched in 1989 as the voluntary, educational Pork Quality Assurance® program, it has been continually updated, revised and improved to meet the industry’s goals and expectations of customers and consumers. The program is revised every three years.
The site assessment is designed to evaluate animal care practices on farms and is conducted by a PQA Plus Advisor. This on-farm assessment includes review of records, facilities, equipment, animal care and well-being practices.
PQA Plus site status is granted to a production site identified by a Premise Identification Number (PIN) and associated with a PQA Plus certified producer once a PQA Plus Advisor reports an on-farm site assessment has been completed at the site.
Before assessment data can be entered and site status granted, a signed written action plan needs to be completed for all non-compliances identified during the current site assessment and returned to the PQA Plus Advisor.