News from the National Pork Board
Pork industry launches new common audit to ensure animal care and food safety

After 18 months of industry collaboration, the National Pork Board recently announced that a new common swine industry audit platform for pork producers, packers, and processors is now certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization and is available to the public. The new audit tool builds on the existing Pork Quality Assurance Plus program and expands it to serve as a single common audit platform for the pork industry.

The overarching goal of the common audit process is to provide consumers greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal well-being and food safety. The concept of a common audit was first introduced at the 2013 National Pork Industry Forum and reintroduced last June at the 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.

“As an industry, we know that our customers are demanding a higher level of integrity from the pork industry’s quality assurance processes and procedures,” said John Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Pork Board. “We are encouraged by the broad support we have received from our industry partners to develop this tool, which has now gained third-party certification.”

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, and
  • •  Provide an objective, science-based platform to facilitate continuous improvement in animal care.

For more information, go to or contact Sherrie Webb at or 515-223-3533.

PEDV research updates continue on

To assist producers and their veterinarians in the management, control, and potential elimination of the virus, the National Pork Board funded key research projects to better understand porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). In order to provide timely information to producers from those projects, the objectives and initial updates will be periodically reported on However, please know that these updates from the proposals represent interim information only and are not intended to be final reports. The final and formal reports will be provided at the end of the terms of the projects and then posted online at The information in these updates is intended to inform stakeholders of progress, but are not intended to be the final outcome or recommendation.

For more information, contact Dr Lisa Becton, Checkoff’s director of swine health information and research, at or 515-223-2791.

Checkoff goes social with #RealPigFarming

Consumers continue to have questions about how pigs are raised, and no one knows the answers better than pork producers. That’s why the Pork Checkoff’s new social media outreach program, #RealPigFarming, was created and launched earlier this year. It’s designed to help real farmers share real stories with consumers through the hashtag #RealPigFarming. This means of identifying stories via social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, unites pig farmers, academics, youth, veterinarians, and allied industry members to discuss how modern pork production really works.

Campaign to date (July 1 to October 31, 2014) = 300,112 Overall Impressions. Social media posts have come from 50 states and 53 countries. This includes 10,500 Twitter posts, 429 Instagram posts, and 1613 likes on Facebook. In all, 7322 people are engaged as daily users, and they have reached 196,957 people.

For more information, contact Claire Masker at or 515-223-2616.

National Pork Board funds new Swine Health Information Center

At its regularly scheduled November meeting, the National Pork Board’s board of directors approved the funding of a national Swine Health Information Center. The new, autonomous venture will focus its efforts on implementing industry preparedness for disease challenges that could affect US swine herds.

According to Dr Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board, a $15-million investment by the Pork Checkoff would fund the center for 5 years. The center would be governed by a board consisting of representatives from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), and at-large pork producers.

“It’s our intention to establish a center that can improve our preparedness for swine diseases with the combined resources of swine veterinarians, producers, researchers, diagnosticians, and state and federal animal-health officials,” Sundberg said. “We have learned a lot over the past year and a half from our experience with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, and we want to create a unique, collaborative system that will help us achieve our overall goal of preparing for the next emerging swine disease.”

Sundberg says the proposed new center would work toward recognizing and filling the resource and knowledge gaps that currently exist in swine-disease diagnostics as they relate to emerging diseases. Also, the new center would work with the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M University to help facilitate swine health data analysis.

“Although this is a one-time allocation of supplemental funds outside of our regular budget, we realize that this is an investment in the future of the US pork industry,” said Dale Norton, National Pork Board president and producer from Bronson, Michigan. “In the coming months, we will reach out to producers, gather their input, and design a center that best meets their needs.”

Sundberg emphasized that the Swine Health Information Center would not be specifically responsible for a disease response plan, nor would it duplicate current AASV, NPPC, or National Pork Board efforts. The USDA will continue to oversee and manage classical foreign animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, that already have a preparedness plan in place.

More information on the new center will be announced at the annual National Pork Industry Forum, which will be held March 5-7, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas.

Visit Checkoff table at AASV meeting

As usual, you will find the National Pork Board staff and information available at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting. Whether it’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or anything else, the Checkoff staff will be happy to answer questions about Checkoff programs, research, or information.

For more information, contact Mike King at or 515-223-3532.