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A program that formalizes and verifies pork industry efforts to operate responsibly has been publicly endorsed by Tyson Foods, Inc., one of the nation’s leading pork processors.
The Springdale, Ark.-based protein supplier signed on with the National Pork Board/National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) “We Care” initiative that demonstrates producers’ accountability to establish ethical principals. Aside from ensuring responsibility to the environment, public health, employee care and community relations, the initiative involves the Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) program, which provides pork producers with guidelines for enhancing food safety and animal well-being.
“[T]his initiative … publicly certifies the industry’s ongoing commitment and dedication to responsible pork production,” said Gary Machan, VP of pork procurement for Tyson.“The principles of this program mirror Tyson’s own core values, which call on us to serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment. They also affirm Tyson’s continuing commitment to meet or exceed customer and consumer expectations.”
As part of its public endorsement of the initiative, Tyson is asking all pork producers that supply the company with hogs to meet the pork industry goal of being certified in the PQA Plus program by June 30, 2010, and to complete a site assessment by Jan. 1, 2011. In addition, Tyson is donating $10,000 to the NPPC, which will direct the money to a matching-fund program with state organizations to help financially support the on-farm assessments.
“We’re encouraged by producer acceptance of this program,” said Machan, adding that Tyson believes many of its 7,500 pork suppliers are already PQA Plus-certified.