For the 2019 Food Safety Summit, organizers have partnered with National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) and the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) to offer eight certification classes, which give attendees the opportunity to get the training they need.

The five returning courses are Professional Food Safety Auditor training, Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS), HACCP Training, Preventive Controls for Human Foods (PCHF) and Foreign Supplier Verification.

Donna Schaffner, associate director of Food Safety, QA & Training at Rutgers University, is a member of the summit’s education advisory board and will deliver the PCHF course.  Bill Lachowsky, M.S., food safety, education and training consultant, will deliver the HACCP course. At the summit in 2018, Schaffner offered an overview of the reasons to take these food safety courses.

PCHF is the “standardized curriculum” recognized by the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for allowing participants to earn their Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) certification. A person with these credentials is required for each FDA-regulated food processing facility (other than seafood or juice) to write, maintain and implement a risk-based Food Safety Plan with Preventive Controls.

The PCHF course is a must for anyone involved in the management, QA or regulatory compliance areas of FDS-regulated food processing, holding or storage of food products and suppliers or transporters of ingredients or food-contact materials to food processors. Supply chain managers, purchasing managers and managers of shipping and receiving departments are also in particular need of this course.

The PCHF class is taught by a team of experienced industry professionals who hold Train-the-Trainer certificates from the FSPCA and the AFDO. Participants who attend all 20 hours of the class, actively participate in the group breakout sessions and pass an exam will earn the PCQI certificate.

Instructors will provide relevant, practical advice on how to write a Food Safety Plan (FSP) and implement the PCHF rule, while group breakout sessions offer the opportunity to share best practices. The PCHF class prepares participants to comply with PCHF section of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a regulatory compliance requirement for most companies producing foods subject to FDA inspection.

The risk-based FSP is based on previous HACCP concepts as utilized by FDA Seafood HACCP or Juice HACCP or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Meat and Poultry HACCP but goes beyond those concepts in several areas previously considered “pre-requisite programs.” The PCHF regulation does not change the HACCP requirements for companies producing seafood, juice, or USDA-regulated meat and poultry food products. 

The 2.5-day HACCP course is for those who need to earn a certificate from the International HACCP Alliance. For those companies required to have a plan, attending this course satisfies your regulatory requirement.

Others working in FDA-inspected facilities might be required by their third-party audit to have an HACCP plan and qualified individual overseeing the program. This course will also satisfy their need for HACCP credentials. Students who attend all 20 hours of the HACCP class, actively participate in group breakout sessions and pass a test will earn the certificate.

The HACCP class is also a good choice for those who may have already taken the PCHF course but want more guidance for conducting a hazard analysis and differentiating between CCPs (or Process Preventive Controls) and pre-requisite programs.

A seasoned team of food safety professionals will offer advice on how to write an HACCP plan and how to implement and maintain the HACCP plan in a food-production environment and best practices will be shared in group breakout sessions. Both of these courses are excellent choices for achieving your regulatory compliance concerns as well as for satisfying your third-party audit requirements.

The HACCP course is a requirement for food safety professionals and HACCP team members in processing facilities inspected by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors and for those FDA-inspected facilities required by their third-party audit company or by their customers to have a voluntary HACCP plan. In HACCP-required facilities, individuals who write or modify HACCP plans or conduct records review for HACCP plans are required to show documentation of HACCP training. Typically, this would include people working in management, QA, regulatory compliance or shipping and receiving (if they are conducting the pre-shipment review of paperwork).

This course is great for all professionals in the food processing industry at companies that manufacture, process, pack or hold food and need a better understanding of how to conduct a hazard analysis, determine critical control points, establish critical limits, implement monitoring and corrective actions, and document all required paperwork including verification and validation activities.

During the summit, there will also be two new, one-day courses. The first — IA Conducting Vulnerability Assessments Course — will focus on the information and skills necessary to conduct a vulnerability assessment that considers the three fundamental elements outlined in the IA rule. The second, the Produce Safety Alliance Growing Training course, will teach fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management of natural resources and food safety.

The two-day courses include the Professional Food Safety Auditor Training course, designed to strengthen and enhance the skills, knowledge and critical thinking behaviors attributed to a qualified food safety auditor in the post-FSMA environment. Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) will be offered in partnership with NEHA which will provide a strong core knowledge base for food safety professionals with a primary responsibility of overseeing the processing, manufacturing and supply-chain environments of the U.S. and imported food supply. The Foreign Supplier Verification course will provide participants with an understanding of the requirements of the FSVP rule for importers of food for humans and animals. 

The third 2.5-day course will be the standard “live” Seafood HACCP Alliance training course, for the supply chain of the seafood processors including food distribution warehouses and those companies that make, transport or stores seafood.

These courses will each include breakfast, lunch and breaks, training materials and certificate. Multi-day course registration includes access to the Food Safety Summit education sessions, exhibit hall and networking functions during non-course hours. NP