Pork Checkoff programs receive ISO compliance

U.S. pork producers uphold animal welfare standards through PQA Plus, TQA certifications.

November 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Photo credit: National Pork Board

The National Pork Board (NPB) has announced that its flagship certification programs have been confirmed to be compliant with ISO Technical Specification (TS) 34700, recognizing pig farmers commitment to the highest level of care and well-being for the pigs they raise. Programs recognized include:

  • Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) version 5.0 

  • PQA Plus Site Assessment version 5.0 

  • Transport Quality Assurance (TQA) version 8 

The accomplishment underscores pork producers’ dedication to providing pigs with an environment that is healthy, safe and sustainable, NPB said.

ISO’s animal welfare technical specification evaluates whether animal welfare programs meet international standards for animal care across the supply chain. As an independent, international standards-setting body, ISO works with the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) to help farmers and animal welfare programs determine how to implement species-specific animal welfare standards. 

The WOAH, the World Trade Organization-recognized body for setting animal health and welfare standards affecting international trade, adopted animal welfare and pig production standards in 2018.

Programs, like PQA Plus and TQA, use the standard to demonstrate alignment with the principles of WOAH. The compliance was awarded following a rigorous evaluation process conducted by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. 

Stephanie Wisdom, director of animal welfare and sustainability at NPB, said producers uphold high standards of animal welfare within their barns through a combination of safe and appropriate housing, responsible management practices and veterinary care. 

“Obtaining compliance for our programs clearly shows that animal welfare is a top priority for U.S. pork producers and the U.S. pork industry,” Wisdom said. “It reflects our industry’s deep commitment to top-notch animal care, public health and food safety in the pork industry. This achievement assures both producers and consumers that our practices meet globally recognized standards and showcases our commitment to compassion and respect for the animals we raise.”

Wisdom said implementing these programs and maintaining certifications builds consumer confidence that U.S. pork is not only good for you and good for the planet, but it also meets the highest animal welfare standards in the world.   

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