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Quality assurance scheme to benefit of all producers

The Premier Pork Producers’ (PPP) quality assurance scheme (QAT) is to the benefit of all producers and not only to members of the PPP. The system was developed in consultation with key players in the industry to enhance biosecurity and to reassure consumers that pork is a healthy and safe product.Benefits
QAT certification us a guarantee to both the consumer and retailing sector that the producer has a consistent production process that complies with minimum standards and ensures high-quality pork. QAT certification further ensures:

  • that producers will meet the increasing demand for food safety by retailers.
  • savings in feed and medicine usage through closer monitoring and avoidance of wastage.
  • that possible opportunities for improvement in the production systems are identified.
  • that on-farm systems, practices and documentation are audited.

Background
In consultation with the key players in the pork products value chain (producer, abattoir, processor, retailer and pig veterinarians), Premier Pork Producers has taken the needs of the industry into consideration and, together with these role players, developed the QAT system.
The reason for developing the QAT system was to deal with two important issues, namely:
Biosecurity
The health status of our pig industry is of critical importance for the survival of the industry. The importance of on-farm biosecurity, specifically in respect of maintaining a high health status, can therefore not be ignored.
Food safety/consumer requirements
Consumers in the modern world demand food safety and security and retailers are responding to their customers’ requirements by offering quality assured products. In order to comply with growing consumer demands, pork producers in South Africa will have to adhere to a system that confirms minimum accepted quality standards.
Premier Pork Producers is the owner of the QAT system, and will play the role of facilitating its implementation.
QAT certification requirements
No producer can implement and/or participate in the system without at least:

  • being a paid-up member of PPP or having entered into an individual contract with PPP.
  • having an accredited veterinary consultant who, in turn, frequently visits, advises and evaluates the farm and production processes.
  • having developed an in-house Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document.
  • complying with the QAT standards, verified by an independent auditing process.

Scope of the QAT standards
The aim of the document is to to help the producer or manager to be involved in the quality assurance process. The producer or manager should develop his own SOP document, taking into account his own production processes as well as the guidelines as addressed in the QAT Standards document.
The current set of standards addresses:

  • Access control
  • Internal biosecurity
  • Pest control
  • Feeding and feed quality
  • Housing management and care
  • Sanitary and hygiene requirements
  • Medication and vaccine management and usage
  • Manure and water affluent
  • Transportation.

A full copy of the standards is available from PPP on application.
Certification process
Producers need to allow sufficient time for the training of staff as part of implementation of the QAT standards. It is further suggested that the standards be in operation for at least two months before it can be audited.
The process is simple, and with the help of a veterinary consultant it can be managed within a few months. Many producers are already implementing most of the QAT standards, and certification of the farm is merely a matter of documenting on-farm practices.
Once a producer has indicated that he is interested to have his farm QAT certified, PPP will oversee and assists in the following process:

  • The producer or farm should apply to PPP to receive QAT documents.
  • In consultation with his veterinarian, the producer must develop his own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document, which includes the QAT standards.
  • Implement the SOP on the farm and keep records as required (for many producers this does not differ much from what they are already doing).
  • PPP will appoint an accredited person or institution to audit the farm.
  • The farm will be approved and certification will be issued once the farm complies with all requirements.
  • A unique certification number will be issued in order to identify the farm of production unit.
  • Certification would be done once every 12 months, but will be subject to a minimum of two additional internal audits during the 12-month period.
  • PPP reserves the right to conduct an audit inspection at any time without prior notice to the producer.
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