News from the National Pork Board

SafePork 2005 symposium in September

The 6th International Symposium on the Epidemiology and Control of Foodborne Pathogens in Pork, or SafePork 2005, will take place September 6 to 9, 2005, at the Double Tree Hotel in Rohnert Park, California.

Over 70 oral presentations and 20 posters on topics related to pathogens of foodborne importance, antimicrobial resistance, and chemical and physical hazards in pork will be offered during the symposium. Emphasis will be placed on epidemiology, economics, diagnostics, risk analysis, and interventions and control programs for pathogens and hazards.

The planning committee includes members of the National Pork Board's Pork Safety Committee and the Assistant Vice President of Science and Technology for the National Pork Board, Dr Liz Wagstrom. The scientific committee includes internationally known researchers and practitioners with experience in public health, disease surveillance, antimicrobial resistance, and zoonotic diseases, among other specialties.

More information on SafePork 2005 can be found at

Pork Checkoff's Take Care program supported by over 40 percent of US swine herds

The Pork Checkoff's Take Care - Use Antibiotics Responsibly program has been available since February to guide producers on the responsible use of antibiotics in swine production. In 4 months, the program has received written endorsements from companies that market over 40% of the pigs produced in the United States.

The Take Care program was developed by the Pork Checkoff to guide producers through an assessment of the need for antibiotics on their production sites and the appropriate use and disposal of antibiotics. It was developed by pork producers on the pork safety committee and the pharmaceutical issues task force. Support and input came also from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Pork Producers Council, and the pharmaceutical and feed industries.

Producers endorsing the program understand that using antibiotics responsibly in animal agriculture is important to protect public health, animal health, and animal welfare. The endorsements are important to demonstrate industry awareness and unity on the issue of antibiotic use in pork production. All AASV members have been mailed endorsement forms for their clients to sign in support of the program. If more forms are needed, please call 800-456-PORK.

Producers and veterinarians can find information on the Take Care - Use Antibiotics Responsibly program on the Pork Checkoff's Web site, Copies of the Take Care guide to using antibiotics responsibly can be obtained by calling the Pork Checkoff's Service Center at 800-456-PORK.

Revisions planned for the Swine Welfare Assurance Program and Pork Quality Assurance

The National Pork Board's animal welfare, pork safety, and producer education committees have voiced their intent to revise the Swine Welfare Assurance Program (SWAP) and the Pork Quality Assurance program (PQA).

The committees have met to identify the areas to update and nominate task forces to gain input from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and other stakeholders, and will then initiate the projects.

Pork Checkoff to introduce sow housing calculator spreadsheet

The animal science committee has approved of a sow housing cost calculator spreadsheet for producers. The tool is designed to evaluate the production and financial implications associated with various types of housing systems for gestating sows.

The tool requires the user to input projected farrowing rate and litter size as well as certain production costs and estimated facility costs, and the spreadsheet projects the cost per pig produced. Three different scenarios are possible: remodeling of a facility, building a new facility, and building a hoop system.

The spreadsheet was created in 2004 by Dr Don Levis, formerly of The Ohio State University, now with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, as part of a Checkoff-funded research project.

The sow housing cost calculator is scheduled for release in August 2005. More information can be requested from Dr Mark Boggess, director of animal sciences for the Pork Checkoff at mark.boggess@pork, or from Jim Lummus, manager of education programs at jim.lummus@pork

Worker Safety material scheduled for release in August 2005

Agriculture has the second highest occupational death rate in the United States. Work-related injuries, including musculoskeletal, respiratory, hearing, and other injuries, are most common among people working in agriculture-related fields. The Checkoff environmental committee, under the direction of the worker safety advisory group, has identified worker safety as an issue that requires the attention and education of swine producers.

With this priority, the Pork Checkoff has developed a set of worker safety tools to guide producers and employees on issues related to safety and regulations. The set includes materials for trainers, such as production trainers, consultants, and human resources managers; materials for producers, including a guide to Occupational Health and Safety Administration regulations and Worker's Compensation and a worker-safety employee manual (to be developed); and a workbook for employees. The material is CD-DVD based, and more materials are planned for the near future, including a Spanish version of the documents.

For more information on worker-safety-related materials contact Dr Liz Wagstrom via e-mail at