FSMA course aims at deeper understanding of science behind preventive controls

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/iqoncept
© iStock/iqoncept
A US feed industry focused course aims to help companies establish feed safety plans as FSMA deadlines start, says instructor. 

The online course, Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls for Feed​, offered by Texas A&M University and the Office of the Texas State Chemist is designed to help feed industry members to develop food safety plan, in line with the changes ushered in under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA​), said Tim Herrman, course instructor, state chemist and director of the office of the Texas State Chemist.

“It also augments the students’ understanding of the science behind preventive controls, provides [insight into] how to prepare standard operating procedures and sanitary standard operating procedures, how to characterize the risk associated with a specific hazards and implement preventive controls,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “Students prepare an individualized HACCP [hazard analysis and critical control points] Food Safety Plan in a team environment as the final course assignment.”

Herman has seen a hike in demand for FSMA orientated educational courses in recent months.

“We have seen an increase in requests for face-to-face training and large group training as the compliance dates have gotten closer,” ​he said.

The next session of the eight-week, online class starts at the end of this month.

Course design

“The training is fortified with the most current set of data established by the Office of the Texas State Chemist for biological and chemical hazards,”​ he added.

In addition to practice the development of a food safety plan, students who complete the program meet the FDA’s requirement related to the role of preventive controls 'qualified individual' under the current GMP and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals FSMA rule, said Herrman. 

“Students learn to apply a science-based approach to identifying and managing hazards in feed ingredients and finished feed,”​ he said. “The course content is presented in a practical context that enables participants to navigate an increasingly complex and heavily regulated business environment.”

Materials involved are continually reviewed to include new scientific developments and changes in regulatory requirements, he said. The program is supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The mix of lectures, readings, and course homework assignments that culminate in the development of a food safety plan has drawn high praise from past course participants,”​ he added.

“The current updated course includes the revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) and new FSMA rules and incorporates the standardized curriculum recognized by the FDA,”​ said Herrman. “This current offering focuses on the application of HACCP principles and prerequisite programs that align with FSMA regulations.” 

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