In 2009, Wisconsin led the nation in dairy beef drug residues. Dairy producers and veterinarians were targeted as the primary source of the problem, and there was a call for increased regulation to deal with this issue. However, the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA) chose to approach the issue differently and created the WVMA Residue Task Force, a group of veterinarians focused on developing a non-regulatory solution to the dairy beef residues.
In 2012 the WVMA, in partnership with the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), developed the What Matters® initiative – a comprehensive non-regulatory, educational outreach program. Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use Program is the “how” step of the What Matters® initiative:
Dairy farmers and veterinarians working together to ensure safe meat and milk
In the years since, the WVMA has trained veterinarians and producers how to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans for proper drug use on dairy farms. With the growing success of the program, the WVMA made the decision to turn Food Armor® into its own non-profit foundation, creating the Food Armor® Foundation, to help grow the program's national scope and outreach.
The Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use Program is the only comprehensive program of its type that delivers a verifiable drug quality assurance program by defining the roles and responsibilities of those using it. The objective is to identify potential hazards and to identify critical control points to limit these hazards. Proper implementation of this program ensures food safety, as well as transparency and accountability for proper drug use on a farm.
Food Armor® HACCP for Proper Drug Use is the “how-to” for achieving food safety and proper drug use on farms. This non-regulatory approach ensures a collaborative relationship between the farm’s veterinarian(s), the owner/managers, and the cow-side employees – the individuals that make up the VCPR team. Each HACCP plan is tailored to the individual farm, and the Food Armor® program is designed to empower the veterinarian team and the farm personnel as they work together.
Farms voluntarily participate in Food Armor® to minimize drug risks and have the option of earning Food Armor® certification if they demonstrate full implementation and maintenance of a six-section HACCP plan for proper drug use, meeting all the program's requirements. The only individuals that may grant Food Armor® certification to farms are Food Armor® Accredited Veterinarians. Only veterinarians have the training and expertise to help farms effectively manage on-farm drug use. Veterinarians may earn Food Armor® accreditation by attending training workshops and demonstrating mastery of the Program.