Consumers are very interested in the safety of the food they eat as well as the quality of the products they buy. Quality and product safety are issues for which the U.S. sheep industry and its producers are held accountable.
Quality assurance specialists in the manufacturing industry have a few figures they like to quote when it comes to quality control. Specifically, they claim that it costs $1 to prevent defects in production; $10 to fix defects and $100 to repair damage at the customer level.
The Sheep Safety Quality Assurance (SSQA) program, developed by the American Sheep Industry Association, in conjunction with Colorado State University, works to ensure maximum consumer confidence in products generated by the U.S. sheep industry. SSQA utilizes research and education to improve management during the production of safe and high-quality sheep products.
The program, which applies quality principles to the raising of sheep, involves education, design and outside verification. Producers are first trained in the classroom on quality concepts, such as specifications, process mapping and standard operating procedures. Then they develop on-site mission statements, flowcharts and inspection plans.
Trainers located across the United States are available to teach the concepts of SSQA. The list can be accessed through the link below.
The final phase of the program arranges for a certified reviewer to carry out an on-the-farm evaluation attesting to the execution of the SSQA requirements in the day-to-day operations.