Q+A with Jennifer McEntire of United Fresh
The course uses model plans created by a team of experts convened by United Fresh and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) training curriculum. Courses will be offered Oct. 4-6 in Orlando, Florida; Nov. 7-9 in Fresno, California; and Nov. 14-16 in Salinas, California.
Produce Processing talked with Jennifer McEntire, vice president of food safety and technology at United Fresh, to learn more about the Preventive Controls for Human Food Qualified Individual Training Program.
Produce Processing: What type of processor or packing facility would benefit from attending this training program?
Jennifer McEntire: Any facility that needs to comply with the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule can take this course. It follows the standardized curriculum set by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, including the FSPCA slides and course manual. What makes our training especially useful for produce industry members is that we’ve worked with experts to create produce-specific models, both for wet and dry packinghouses as well as fresh-cut operations, that are used to help drive home the concepts in the course.
PP: Which employee at these facilities would be the best candidate to be the “preventive controls qualified individual?”
JM: The people responsible for food safety at a facility should take this course. But that can be interpreted broadly. In some facilities there is dedicated quality assurance or food safety staff. Other places may want to send their operations person, and maybe even someone from sanitation or receiving, since all may play a role in food safety.
PP: What are the activities the preventive controls qualified individual will have to complete to comply with the Preventive Controls Rule?
JM: The responsibilities are specified by the regulation. They include developing, or overseeing the development of, the food safety plan; conducting or overseeing validation studies; reviewing documents as part of verification; and conducting (or overseeing) the reanalysis of the plan.
PP: What are major challenges for facilities in complying with the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule? How will the training program address those challenges?
JM: The training covers all aspects of the regulation and uses the standardized curriculum. FDA helped develop that curriculum, and FDA representatives actually “teach” (via video) the chapter on the regulation itself. Different companies have different challenges: some may not realize the effort associated with a supply chain control; others may not have a robust environmental monitoring plan; some may need more validation data. The course walks through all of these topics, and the manual provides great references if people need additional information.
PP: What key elements of a food safety plan will the training program cover?
JM: The training covers all elements of the food safety plan, from the initial hazard analysis to the recall plan, and all the preventive controls (process, allergen, sanitation, and supply chain controls), implementation and other paperwork (validation, verification, and recordkeeping) in between.
PP: How can a course attendee apply their training from the program to their facility?
JM: The sole purpose of the course is to aid people in understanding what is needed to achieve regulatory compliance. It is a very practical and applied course that requires their participation. Through group exercises (using produce specific models), discussion with their peers, and the feedback and guidance of our expert instructors, participants will leave knowing what they, as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual, need to do.
To register for any one of the three course dates listed above, visit www.unitedfresh.org. For more information about the trainings, call Erin Grether at 202-303-3402 or Jennifer McEntire at 202-303-3419.
— Ana Olvera, digital content editor