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Want a better cut of pork? It begins with healthier pigs.

April 22, 2024

Animal health and nutrition has a significant impact on meat quality. If you want consistent, high-quality pork in your meat case, it begins with how the pigs are raised. Find out how this brand improves meat quality even before the pigs are conceived.

There’s a business reason to focus on animal health that impacts food brands, grocery stores and the end consumer. If you want consistent, high-quality pork, it begins with how the pigs are raised.

Better pork comes from healthier pigs, and that’s one of the many reasons why companies focused on meat quality have implemented the science of better meat through better animal health and nutrition. Ian Levis, DVM, is operations and veterinary services manager for Prairie Fresh, and he says there is an inextricable link between animal health, high-quality meat and satisfied consumers.

“We must always remember that we raise pigs to feed people,” Levis said. “I feed our pork to my family, and I want to produce wholesome food for them and everyone else who purchases our products. To accomplish that, we do everything we can to ensure our pigs are healthy so that the pork products coming out of the plant are safe, high-quality and nutritious.”

Prairie Fresh optimizes animal health through the Prairie Fresh Way, the company’s unique perspective on producing pork using a connected food system, including farms and processing plants. Because Prairie Fresh controls every step along the integrated supply chain, it can monitor production to better understand how animal health impacts meat quality.

Levis says both nutrition and medicine play vital roles in producing consistent, high-quality meat for grocery store meat cases. But the science of better meat means determining what health or nutritional programs lead to better products. The Prairie Fresh Way allows the company to better pinpoint how it can improve nutrition and animal health to optimize meat quality.

“As a connected food system, we have the ability to track nutrition and health protocols from the farm through the processing plant, so that we can see how these decisions impact not only animal health but also the end product,” Levis said. “Nutrition, environment and animal health all impact meat quality, and we’ve done a great job connecting the dots from the processing plants to the farms to understand how these things work together.”

Integrated approach to animal health

Levis says the focus on animal health starts with breeding and continues through the production process.

“We’ve built a comprehensive, integrated program that encompasses all phases of the pig’s life, starting with the boar studs and working its way through the sow farms, the nursery, and the grow-finish facilities,” Levis said. “We focus on good health and good nutrition at the top of the chain, because it affects the health of piglets and carries through the entire process.”

A key to animal health is consistency – every day, at every step of production. The Prairie Fresh Way employs an overarching health program that applies to the entire herd, but Levis says it also incorporates a flexible, nimble approach that tailors nutritional and medical needs to each flow or farm. For overall health, it focuses on environment, air, water and food – looking to maintain optimal conditions for pig well-being and growth. That’s combined with medical treatments such as a comprehensive vaccination program to prevent and lessen disease, as well as antibiotics when needed.

“Our goal is to do the right thing for the pigs every day, because healthier animals have a better quality of life,” Levis said. “Our nutritional wellness protocols and animal handling programs all tie into the product in the meat case. High-quality meat requires a multifactorial approach that begins before the pigs are conceived and continues all the way through the life cycle.”

To learn more about how Prairie Fresh can bring consistent, high-quality pork to your meat case, visit www.PrairieFreshWay.com.

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David Eaheart, APR