The new Poultry Handling and Transportation Quality Assurance certification program, the first third-party certification of its type to cover several poultry species, is rolling out dates for its 2011 training sessions.

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PHTQA, developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture representatives, scientists from Penn State University and industry specialists, has the goal of providing "accurate, science-based, practical training and education for poultry handlers and transportation personnel that enhances biosecurity, poultry well-being, product quality and safety of all involved." Topics covered include biosecurity, disease recognition, emergency planning and the safe and humane handling of birds before, during and after transport. The certification involves the transportation and handling of several different bird species, including day-old poultry, breeders, pullets, spent fowl, broilers and turkeys.