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NC State Extension

Training Requirements

Under the Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF) rule of FSMA, there are legally mandated food safety training requirements for employees of a facility subject to the PCHF rule. The text of the PCHF rule gives two “levels” of training that are required. Those “levels” of training are: preventive controls qualified individual (PCQI) and qualified individual (QI).


Definition: A PCQI is defined as:

…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.

Requirements: As seen above, there are 2 ways to become a PCQI. An individual can complete training under a standard curriculum recognized by the FDA or be otherwise qualified through job experience. The FDA has not defined what is considered “adequate” job experience to certify an individual as a PCQI. However, the FDA has recognized a standardized curriculum that is adequate to certify an individual as a PCQI. The curriculum was developed in partnership with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA). This curriculum is a 2.5 day training course and is currently being offered throughout the state by NC State Faculty and Area Specialized Agents.

Responsibilities: As a PCQI, the individual is qualified to oversee the development and implementation of the food safety plan. For this reason, PCQI training is intended for management or supervisory type positions.


Definition: A QI is defined as:

…a person who has the education, training, or experience (or a combination thereof) necessary to manufacture, process, pack, or hold clean and safe food as appropriate to the individual’s assigned duties

Requirements: As seen in the definition above, a QI must have a combination of education, training, and/or experience to certify them as a QI. This training can be done through a certification agency, in house food safety training program, contract food safety training, on the job experience, or through other methods that are deemed appropriate. NC State currently offers general food safety training courses that could help individuals become qualified as QIs. Training opportunities are offered as programs and certifications, workshops, and courses that are available both virtually and in person.

Responsibilities: While a QI can be a member of the food safety team, they do not have the authority to oversee the development and implementation of the food safety plan. QIs are trained specific to how their jobs can impact food safety. For this reason, QI training is targeted at line, floor, warehouse, etc. workers.