In October 2014, the National Pork Board officially announced that a new common swine industry audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors was certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) and was available to the public. Part of the driving force to create the new audit tool stemmed from the Pork Checkoff’s Board of Directors who met with their European counterparts in 2011. These overseas producers complained about audit programs in their countries that were duplicative, costly and inefficient.
The concept of a common audit was first introduced at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum and reintroduced at the 2014 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, where a coalition of packers and pork producers explained how the audit is a credible and affordable solution for improving animal well-being.
Common Swine Industry Audit Tool Goal
The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers with greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal well-being and food safety. The audit tool builds on the existing Pork Quality Assurance® Plus (PQA Plus®) program and expands it to serve as a single, common audit platform for the pork industry.
To help avoid duplicative, costly and inefficient audit programs that are commonplace in some countries, this new tool is designed to:
- Meet individual company and customer needs.
- Be focused on outcome-based criteria that measure and improve animal welfare.
- Provide clarity to producers about audit standards and expectations.
- Minimize duplication and prevent over-sampling.
- Ensure greater integrity of the audit process through consistent application.
- Provide an objective, science-based platform to facilitate continuous improvement in animal care.