Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles leading up to the 20th annual Food Safety Summit. The event, from May 7-10 at the Donald Stephens Convention Center in suburban Chicago, includes certification courses; a trade show with exhibitors from industry, academia and government; an extensive list of seminars and panel discussions; and a Town Hall meeting with top officials from the FDA, USDA and CDC. Visit www.foodsafetysummit.com to register.

Application deadline next week
Anyone interested in the CCFS, CFSSA, or RFSA exams described below must apply by April 16.
Please email credentialing@neha.org or call 303-756-9090 Ext. 339.

Sample breakdown of NEHA’s credential exam topics.

The promulgation of FSMA increased the need for certified food safety professionals. The global human food supply chain requires a highly-trained international workforce to evaluate manufacturing and processing facilities and conduct third-party audits.

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) worked alongside subject matter experts to develop credentials that can help build capacity for the supply chain. Ultimately, the goal of these credentials is to sustain a workforce of competent, qualified individuals who can prevent foodborne illness and food safety breaches. Each credential builds upon the knowledge of the others, and candidates can progress from one tier to the next.

Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety
The Certified in Comprehensive Food Safety (CCFS) credential was developed for professionals who desire to demonstrate mastery of food safety knowledge in manufacturing and processing environments. Individuals looking to advance their careers are ideal candidates for this core credential. The CCFS training materials teach compliance for preventive controls and foreign supplier verification programs. Credential holders can address the qualified individual components of FSMA and develop, manage, and review food safety plans. The CCFS exam emphasizes identifying hazards, conducting risk assessments, observing and training staff, assessing facilities, and assuring corrective measures are implemented to control hazards.

Certified in Food Safety Supplier Auditors
The Certified in Food Safety Supplier Audits (CFSSA) credential builds off the knowledge covered in the CCFS. Individuals who conduct risk-based audits (foreign or domestic) to mitigate hazards in the food supply or are interested in becoming auditors are ideal candidates. CFSSA credential holders conduct first- and second- party audits as well as food safety supply chain audits. The CFSSA exam emphasizes conducting regulatory food inspections as a supervisor, and HACCP training.

Registered Food Safety Auditors
The Registered Food Safety Auditor (RFSA) credential is the premier, expert-level credential that allows third-party audits. The credentialing exam has a rigorous application process, and candidates are required to already hold the CFSSA credential. The unique component of this exam is the witness audit, which asks a certification body to observe the auditor as they inspect a facility.

Throughout the development of these credentials was the long-term goal of building capacity. CCFS credential holders manage facilities and keep them safe, while CFSSA professionals conduct first- and second-party audits. RFSA candidates are approved by a certification body, and are the final line of defense that determines if a facility can effectively provide safe, wholesome food for humans.

NEHA is teaching the CCFS credential review course and the Professional Food Safety Auditor Training immediately before the 2018 Food Safety Summit as preconference sessions, from May 7-8 at the summit venue in Rosemont, IL. The CCFS instructor is Akhila Vasan of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Auditor Training is led by Kim Onett, of NSF. The courses provide a foundation for participants as they move forward in their careers. Individuals interested in taking the CCFS, CFSSA, or RFSA exams at the Summit must apply by April 16. Please email credentialing@neha.org or call 303-756-9090 ext. 339 if you have questions.

About the author: Nancy Finney, MPA – Technical Editor at the National Environmental Health Association, wrote this column on behalf of NEHA and the Food Safety Summit.

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