A key focus of the AASP's Pork Producer Patners activities is the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program. The PQA program was initiated in 1989 and has undergone two major updates since then, the last one in 1996. With the pork industry's increasing focus on food safety issues, the PQA program is in the middle of yet another facelift designed to make the program even more relevant for today's pork producers. In a recent interview, Dr. Paul Sundberg, NPPC Assistant VP of Veterinary Issues, described some of the changes. According to Dr. Sundberg, the revised PQA program will follow the same general format as the current program, centered around the 10 Good Production Practices (GPPs) identified as integral to production of quality pork. Within these 10 GPP categories, however, information concerning biosecurity, animal welfare, needle breakage avoidance, and more will be broadened.
The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) in cooperation with the FDA has developed a new, single set of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) for feed production that will apply to both commercial and on-farm feed manufacturing (before, each had separate GMP requirements). Dr. Sundberg said that the current PQA program's GPP #9, which addresses appropriate on-farm and commercial feed management, will need to be modified to explain to pork producers this recent change in GMPs and how it could affect their operations.
PQA verifiers and others will be asked to provide comments to the NPPC concerning the current PQA program and how it might be improved. During the fall of 1999, the revised program will be beta-tested in the field. This new version of the PQA program, designed to take our pork industry into the new millennium, should be finalized early in 2000.
Dr. Sundberg confirmed that the PQA verifiers for the updated PQA program will remain the same as those currently in place, and concluded that "swine practitioners have been key in delivering the PQA program to producers and making it the premier commodity program in the nation. The PQA program is recognized as the gold standard for the industry and that is in large part due to the support given it by swine veterinarians."
--Contributed by Dr. Teddi Wolff
AASP Public Relations Committee