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Elk Quality Assurance Program



    What do the beef, pork, poultry and even the fish industries have that the elk industry doesn't? You guessed it - a Quality Assurance Program.

    The American Elk Products Board will roll out the Elk Quality Assurance Plan at the 10th annual NAEBA convention in Minneapolis, MN.

    The purpose of such a program is simple - to help ensure that consumers get safe product. How important is product safety?

  • If your children or your grandmother is taking velvet, it is VERY important. You would want to feel confident that the capsules have no harmful bacteria or agents of any kind in them.
  • If ONE consumer (let's say they are not in your family) gets ONE bad batch and gets sick, the negative publicity to our fledgling industry could set us back many years.
  • Velvet is different from many other food products and no federal standards for its harvest or processing have yet been set. Some argue that it is better to define the standards ourselves that to have them defined for us.
    In addition to assuring quality for the consumers of our products, the EQAP is also a valuable marketing tool.

    If you, as processor or a cottage vendor, agree to follow the practices that assure quality, then you may display the AEPB Quality Seal on your products and you may participate in the various marketing programs undertaken and implemented by the AEPB. The Seal adds value to your product.

    If you are "just a farmer", you may still participate in the program. In fact, you will probably want to participate because processors that participate will be urged to buy the velvet of producer participants. This makes your velvet more valuable than the velvet of your neighbor that does not participate in the program.

    So, what you do have to do? Don't you just hate all these rules and regs!? Actually, it's not all that bad. You have agree to:
  • Feed your animals wholesomely - no mammalian tissue here
  • Refrain from harming your animals
  • Follow industry-approved methods of velvet harvest - attend a velvet harvest training seminar and get a certificate to prove it
  • Be "drug smart" - keep drug residue levels at or below levels generally accepted as safe and, for meat, observe all documented withdrawal periods
  • Not call something an elk if it is not an elk
    Requirements for processors of velvet are more stringent. They will promise to buy only "farm-raised" velvet, to purchase velvet from producers that participate in the EQAP whenever possible, and to perform finished product testing to ensure safety.

    Plan to attend the seminar on Friday, Feb 11, 2000, at 3:30 pm to learn more. If you are unable to attend but would like to participate, email: aepb@wapiti.net.


 

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