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Common Swine Industry Audit

Quick facts

  • The Common Swine Industry Audit (CSIA) was developed to assure consumers that farmers and pork processors are careful to improve animal well-being and food safety.
  • The audit tool builds on the Pork Quality Assurance Plus® (PQA Plus®) program. It also serves as a single, common audit platform for the pork industry and minimizes duplication of individual packers who have their own audits.

Resources including the complete CSIA instructions, standards and audit tool, standard operating procedures and record templates can be found on the National Pork Board's website.

What does the audit cover?

The CSIA covers 27 key aspects of swine care and pre-harvest pork safety through all phases of production. The CSIA covers the full life cycle of the pig while on the farm, which includes pig handling and load-out for transportation.

The CSIA is designed to be independent of housing design, size of operation or geographical location.

Four primary areas are reviewed during the audit: records, animals, facilities and caretakers.

Animal benchmarking makes up 45 percent of the audit. During the audit, a representative sample of pigs will be observed at the farm for the following criteria:

  • Space allowance
  • Body condition scores
  • Severe lameness
  • Severe scratches 
  • Abscesses
  • Open wounds
  • Tail biting lesions
  • Prolapses
  • Hernias (non-breeding only)
  • Shoulder sores (breeding only)
  • Vulva injuries (breeding only)

The rest of the audit focuses on the areas of:

  • Caretakers
  • Facilities
  • Records
  • Transport
  • Food safety

What documents does the audit require?

Producers must show the following at the audit as outlined in the CSIA:

Standard Operating Procedures

  • Written euthanasia plan
  • Animal handling
  • Piglet processing
  • Feeding and watering protocols
  • Daily observation
  • Caretaker training
  • Treatment management
  • Needle usage
  • Rodent control
  • Biosecurity


  • Routine maintenance of euthanasia equipment (12 months needed)
  • Emergency backup equipment testing (minimum of twice a year testing)
  • Daily observation records (12 months needed)
  • Mortality records (12 months needed)
  • Medication and treatment records, including vaccinations (12 months needed)
  • VFD records according to FDA guidelines
  • Caretaker training records


  • Willful acts of abuse - a zero-tolerance policy
  • Abuse reporting mechanism
  • Euthanasia plan posted
  • Annual caretaker training
  • Emergency action plan posted
  • Visitor log
  • Biosecurity signage or other means to restrict access
  • Valid VCPR (Veterinary Client Patient Relationship) - verification must be dated within the past 12 months
  • PQA Plus certification - all employees must be current. New employees must be certified within 90 days of employment.
  • TQA certification current for most recent transporter delivering or loading pigs at site
  • Valid PQA Plus site status from a PQA Plus Site Assessment (done within 6 months of operation or before animals are marketed or sold; completed every 3 years)
  • Internal site assessments of the facility, animals, caretakers and procedures must be conducted by the production management team (supervisors, site managers, or other internal animal welfare auditors) at least quarterly on sow farms and semi-annually on nursery and finishing farms.

Other Items

  • Needles that are 16 gauge or larger (lower number) must be highly detectable.
  • A container for the proper disposal of sharps must be rigid and puncture-resistant and clearly labeled as "sharps" according to each state's regulations.

Audit process

Packers ask for an audit to be done at a swine site. Audits will be completed by packer auditors or third-party audit companies hired by the packer.

All auditors are PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization) trained in using the CSIA.

Either the packer or third-party audit company will contact the farm to:

  • Schedule the audit.
  • Inquire about biosecurity protocols.
  • Get acquainted with the facility and the number of animals before visiting the site.

Author: Sarah Schiek, Extension educator

Reviewed in 2024

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