The National Pork Board on Thursday released details of a new common swine industry audit platform for pork producers, packers and processors after 18 months of planning and collaboration.
The audit platform is certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization and is now 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.
"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.
The new audit 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.
Audit tool elements>>
The new common audit framework has several key components, including a new audit tool, instructions for auditors, biosecurity protocols and a platform that will allow audit results to be shared to prevent duplicative audits.
The audit tool was beta-tested on farms across the country and is ready for implementation by farms and processing plants across the United States.
"The industry has come together on this audit platform with the goal of better serving the needs of farmers, packers, processors, retail and food service providers and consumers," Johnson said. "This is not a Pork Checkoff program, but rather an initiative that has been led by producers and packers working together to enhance animal care and pork safety. We're grateful to everyone who worked on this effort for their leadership."
The Industry Audit Task Force included producers, veterinarians representing the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and packer representatives from Cargill, Farmland/Smithfield, Hatfield, Hormel, JBS, Seaboard, Triumph and Tyson.
Many packers have agreed to support the new common industry audit, which means they will utilize the common audit standard when conducting third-party audits.
Pork producers and allied industry can learn more about the common industry audit by going to the common audit Web page on the Pork Checkoff website.
Source: Pork Checkoff