MSU Extension can help with Pork Quality Assurance Plus site-assessment third-party verifications

The PQA PLUS Site Assessment third-party verification process will begin in May 2011.

Starting in May 2011, the PQA PLUS Site Assessment third-party verification process will begin, and MSU Extension is prepared to help.  A total of 90 pork production sites of the more than 14,000 PQA PLUS assessed sites nationwide will be randomly selected for third-party verification in 2011. The third-party verification process has been established to review the pork production site’s implementation of the PQA PLUS program’s 12 care and well-being principles of proper swine care standards. Results from the verification process will be extremely useful in evaluating ways to improve the PQA PLUS program and to measure the pork industry’s commitment to the Good Production Practices and Care, and Well-Being Principles. 

A few things pork producers need to know:

  • Costs for the verifications are paid by the National Pork Board, through the Pork Checkoff.
  • There will be two, third-party organizations conducting the verifications: 1) Validus and 2) ARC/USDA
  • A verification survey notification (i.e. letter and packet of information) will be sent to pork producers that have been randomly selected to participate in the third-party verification process. Verification surveys will be on-going throughout the year.
  • The verifier and site contact will select a mutual date and time for verification within 45 days of receipt of the survey packet.
  • The pork-production site contact will be asked to provide the following information at least 10 business days prior to the verification including: the site’s bio-security protocol, current animal inventory by phase of production and housing type, site map of facilities and driving directions to the site. 
  • A site representative (owner/manager/employee) must be present at all times during the verification process.
  • Pork producers who are contacted to complete the PQAPLUS third-party verification can have their PQAPLUS Advisor present during the site verification.  In addition, producers randomly selected for third-party verification should consider having their PQAPLUS Advisor conduct a site visit prior to the third-party verification.
  • All data collected from the verification process will be entered into a third-party database anonymously. No one will have access to individual site records once the verification is completed.
  • If the verification survey finds noncompliance issues, the pork producer will be asked to work with their PQAPLUS Advisor to address these issues. The pork producer will also be asked to provide documentation that changes have been made and how these issues are being addressed.
  • Results from all verification surveys will be examined in aggregate form. 

MSU Extension serves as Advisors of PQA PLUS Site Assessments for the Michigan Pork Industry. For more information in regard to PQA PLUS Site Assessments or the third-party verification process, please contact Tom Guthrie at (517-788-4292) or Beth Ferry (269-445-4438) or Ron Bates (517-432-1387). 

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