In 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) into law. If your business handles food, you’re expected to follow FSMA compliance. A qualified individual has the knowledge needed to follow FSMA guidelines. This qualification requires training, which is available online.

If you’re seeking FSMA qualification, you’re in the right place. This guide covers everything you need to know about FSMA certification.

What Is FSMA?

FSMA is a food safety act is a law that helps protect American citizens against food safety issues. This act involves robust food safety regulations. This act has regulations that focus on preventative measures instead of reactions.

Maintaining a level of prevention helps stop food safety breaches from occurring. This act tries to prevent deadly outbreaks from e.coli and listeria. FSMA regulations help save businesses’ money and consumer lives.

What Are the Seven FSMA Rules?

All FSMA certified businesses need to follow seven rules. These rules cover a variety of matters, including contamination and certification.

• Regulated Standards For Food Produced for Human Consumption
• Protection Against Contamination
• Sanitary Transportation Regulation
• Produce Safety Rules
• Required Third-Party Certification
• Required Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP)
• Required Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP)

These seven rules are only the major points of the act. There are other rules and regulations to master during an FSMA training program.

What Are the Three Types of FSMA Plans?

Qualified individuals master the three main types of FSMA plans during training. These three plans form a comprehensive strategy for food safety.

Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls (HARPC)

This plan assesses all risk points and hazards within a food business. This overview prevents all types of hazards and approaches the business as a whole. Assessments may include employee safety hazards and naturally-occurring hazards.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)

This plan observes specific processes during food distribution. Observations lead to changes that improve safety, where necessary. For example, an observation may note a too-low temperature. This plan would increase the temperature to prevent future hazards.

Food Defense Plan

In this plan, the food gets evaluated instead of the processes. Produced food gets evaluated against specific criteria. Criteria may include a vulnerability assessment and contamination. After assessing the food, a defense plan gets implemented. This plan includes preventative measures against all noted issues.

How To Become an FSMA-Qualified Individual

FDA-regulated food facilities need at least one Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). Becoming a qualified individual involves completing a training program.

The program must cover FDA regulations related to FSMA as a standardized curriculum. A business with this certification gets qualified and compliant with FSMA by the FDA.


An online training course with instructor-led training exercises helps businesses gain FSMA knowledge. This training has employees analyze food hazards and come up with food safety plans.

Embracing Food Safety Regulations

Having a qualified individual is a necessary step for businesses that handle food. Mastering FSMA regulations helps your business prevents costly safety issues before they happen.

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