News from the National Pork Board

Pork Checkoff Logo Preparing for PQA Plus™

Working with the pork industry’s customers, pork producers have developed a workable, credible, and affordable solution to assure food safety and animal care and well-being and at the same time meet the needs of customers including restaurants, food retailers, and, ultimately, consumers. The solution, a hybrid of the Pork Checkoff’s Pork Quality Assurance™ program (PQA™) and the Swine Welfare Assurance ProgramSM (SWAPSM) will be launched in June 2007.

The program was announced at the 2006 World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. The announcement came approximately 1 year after the creation of the Animal Care Coalition, a group of pork industry chain representatives including producers, packers-processors, restaurateurs, and retailers. Coalition members have used their meetings to talk about animal care and well-being issues and how they can be resolved before they affect demand for pork or pork products.

The inclusion of an animal care and well-being component to the industry’s flagship pork safety program became the responsibility of pork producers on the Pork Checkoff’s animal welfare and pork safety committees. Advising the process were animal behavior experts and representatives from the Pork Checkoff and the AASV.

Veterinarians and extension personnel beta-tested PQA Plus’s™ content and delivery method in the summer of 2006.

The Pork Checkoff and a network of trainers will offer current PQA™ educators who desire to provide PQA Plus™ certification to producers with training starting in early 2007. This training will be a requirement to sign PQA Plus™ certification cards.

For more information on PQA Plus™, contact Erik Risa at

One Is Too Many™ campaign

Cable ties

When plastic ties are used for rupture repair, plastic pieces are found in meat at processing. Communications with producers have asked them to work with their veterinarians for correct methods of rupture repair. The campaign used to create awareness about the incidence of broken needles in pork has been used to raise attention to the issue of cable ties in pork in a check stuffer available from the Pork Checkoff.

To get copies of the check stuffer, call

Needles in market sows

Following a series of meetings with representatives from sow-buying stations, market sow buyers, and packing plants that process market sows and boars, the Pork Checkoff has embarked on the development of a campaign to reduce the incidence of physical hazards, such as needles, in market sows. Needles can be found at or near injection sites, in the case of broken needles, or in any other part of the body, including the tongue and the gastrointestinal tract. This variability adds complexity to the detection process.

Packers have taken several steps to reduce the risk of physical hazards making it through to the final pork product. However, prevention is still the best way to mitigate the risk. With this in mind, the Pork Checkoff is working with a representative group of market sow dealers to adapt the One Is Too Many™ campaign to the harvest breeding-herd market. The plan will consist of two steps. The first, an awareness campaign, will be designed to make producers aware of the risk of physical hazards, such as needles, in pork products like sausage.

The second step is to work with producers to develop processes that will reduce the opportunity for hazards to end up in an animal that may enter the food chain. One of the alternatives that will be presented will be instituting a needle management system to account for all needles.

Once the program is launched, the Pork Checkoff will be asking for veterinarians’ support to get the awareness and educational material out to producers.

For more information on this program, please contact Steve Larsen at

Classical swine fever awareness video project

When asked about important swine diseases such as classical swine fever, veterinarians are thankful the disease has been eradicated from the US swine herd since 1978. The down side – although a small price to pay, when put in the big picture – is that it is not a priority or even a consideration for today’s veterinarians and pork producers. When response time may be the difference between the destruction of one herd and the destruction of an entire country’s swine at-risk population, knowing what to ask, what to look for, and how to differentiate a disease from others is key.

The Pork Checkoff, in cooperation with AASV and Iowa State University, has started to work on a training tool that will use a variety of innovative teaching methods, including three-dimensional video, to deliver high quality information and visual cues to enhance prompt diagnosis of classical swine fever.

The video will simulate modern pork production, will include two- and three-dimensional videos of pigs of various ages process of tissue submission (including the necessity of submitting tonsil samples) and follow-up.

For more information on this project, contact Paul Sundberg at