Ensuring Food Safety through Youth Meat Quality Assurance Programming

CSU Extension Website

SPRINGFIELD, Colo.-Each year, the Southeast Area 4-H youth that are enrolled in breeding and market beef, sheep, swine, goats, poultry, rabbits, dairy animal, and hose projects must complete a Colorado State University 4-H mandated Meat Quality Assurance (MQA) or Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) training class. However, this is only a requirement for 4-H youth during the first two years they show a livestock project as well as when a 4-H youth changes age divisions from Junior to Intermediate to Senior. The purpose of this training is to promote youth development through an educational process that helps them benefit in the areas of responsibility and character development while learning about the acceptable methods of raising and caring for meat animals that are to be used for food production. In addition, the 4-H youth gain valuable industry-related information that help them learn the best practices for raising meat products, which ultimately helps to maximize consumer confidence and acceptance of the food products such as meat, milk, and eggs that are produced by 4-H youth livestock projects.

The MQA/PQA training sessions utilize a hands-on learning format in which each child is required to visit one of several information and work stations that explain various aspects of the dairy, egg, and meat producing industries. The learn-by-doing approach implemented during the MQA/PQA training provides each 4-H youth the valuable information they need to properly raise and care for their 4-H livestock project. As they engage each station, the 4-H youth learn how to properly identify their animal with the use of ear tags or notches, properly balance their animal’s feed and nutrition, proper medical care practices, and animal housing. During this process, each 4-H youth is required to complete and pass a required MQA or PQA exam. Once this requirement is met, the 4-H youth are not only eligible to show their animals at the county and state fairs, but each child has now expanded their knowledge and expertise in proper animal husbandry practices.

For question regarding MQA/PQA training, please contact any Colorado State University Extension office. If your child is interested in joining 4-H or you would like further information on the 4-H program, please contact your local CSU Extension Office; Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County 719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734. 4-H is a cooperative effort between CSU Extension and the County.

Filed Under: AgriculturecommunityCountyEducationFeaturedHealthProwers CountyPublic SafetySchoolYouth


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