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How to choose a Preventive Controls Course

The final FDA rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) have been published and deadline dates for compliance are established.

Offerings for courses in Preventive Controls are beginning to pop up.  What are the important considerations to choosing?

Primary considerations

The primary consideration must be to help expand the knowledge for the protection of the food supply.  Any Preventive Controls course must help you to:


  1. Create appropriate preventive controls that reduce the risk of producing product with a potential health risk.
  2. Create a Food Safety Plan that documents your process and preventive controls in an understandable way.
  3. Demonstrate that you are a "Qualified Individual" to create, execute and manage your Food Safety Plan.

A standardized curriculum that will be recognized by the FDA is probably the easiest way to insure you meet these primary considerations.  Not the only way, but the easiest way.  Consider this language from the final rule:

 Preventive controls qualified
individual means a qualified individual
who has successfully completed
training in the development and
application of risk-based preventive
controls at least equivalent to that
received under a standardized
curriculum recognized as adequate by
FDA or is otherwise qualified through
job experience to develop and apply a
food safety system.

The language is flexible and allows for you to meet the qualifaction in several ways.  You could gain the knowledge through your years of experience and self-study of the rule.  You could gain the knowledge through some other class that is shown to be at least equivalent.  Or you could gain the knowledge through a course specifically designed and recognized to be the standardized curriculum.

That standardized curriculum is written by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, FSPCA.

Secondary considerations

What you gain from a Preventive Controls for Human Foods course is influenced greatly by the quality of instruction.  The knowledge sharing and networking in your course is a significant benefit over self-study.  Your instructors should be:

  1. Well versed in the subject matter.
  2. Skilled and experienced in delivering Adult Learning content.
  3. Able to demonstrate that they are a legitimate "Lead Instructor" in Preventive Controls for Human Food.

If your course is held in a different cultural environment (e.g. another country) you will also want to know that your instructors are experienced in multi-cultural environments.

Access to the student guide alone for the FSPCA course does not make a capable instructor.  However, the FSPCA has set up a system to train Lead Instructors and document the successful completion of their training.  These Lead Instructors must take the Preventive Controls for Human Food course and also a Lead Instructor course.

Only these Lead Instructors with a valid serial number (as shown on their certificate of completion) can register a class with FSPCA, or can have access to the intructor guide, slides and other material.  Importantly, only these Lead Instructors can issue you a certificate signed by AFDO (with its own serial number) to demonstrate that you have successfully completed the course.


If all of the factors above are satisfied, consider price, value and location as tie-breakers.

Why wouldn't you prefer a course that not only includes all course materials and the certificate fee, but also snacks and meals?  If there are additional instructional or social bonuses, the value can be further increased.

There is nothing wrong with considering a course in a resort setting or near the beach, especially if the season is one that you can bring your family to play while you work.

See our "EVENTS" listing in the left margin for FSPCA courses. Click Here for information and a registration link for our upcoming public course in Cocoa Beach, FL.  It is near the beach, next to the second busiest cruise port in the world, and convenient to the Orlando theme parks (75 minutes, all highway).

Use the CONTACT US link at the top of the page if you would like information about a private course on your site.

Beware the FSPCA Certified Training or Instructor
What can you do now to prepare for FSMA?

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