New Extension Publication: Guide to Writing PCAF Food Safety Plans

— Written By Rhea Hebert and last updated by
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teal banner with text Guide to Writing PCAF Food Safety Plans

Food safety plans (FSP) are required for animal food facilities under the Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF) rule. But what’s the best way to write an FSP? What formats will inspectors accept? What kinds of help are available?

We know you might have questions about your food safety plans. That’s why we partnered with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to publish the new Abbreviated Guide to Creating a Livestock Food Safety Plan Under the Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF) Rule.

NC State Extension’s Marissa Herchler and Adam Fahrenholz were part of a national team that collaborated on the guide. The other team members were

  • David Fairfield, National Grain and Feed Association, Senior Vice President, Feed, Arlington, VA,
  • Dianne Milazzo, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Consumer Safety Officer, Richmond, VA and
  • Jenny Murphy, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Deputy Director for Foods, Rockville, MD.

The guide was developed by members of the FSPCA Animal Subcommittee to outline and illustrate steps that a livestock food facility could follow to develop its FSP as required by PCAF regulations.

There’s no specific format a food safety plan has to follow, but plans should present a logical format that clearly shows the processes and decisions made to make or maintain safe products.

What makes this guide unique is the structure of the example plan. The guide details the steps to create a food safety plan, but uses a different structure than the PCAF training manual’s example (Example Food Safety Plan for Dry Extruded Dog and Cat Food, Appendix 3). According to the FSPCA, “The intent behind the example livestock plan is to illustrate another format that is acceptable when developing a food safety plan, while still incorporating required and best management practice information.”

The Example Food Safety Plan provided in our new guide uses a fictional swine and broiler facility that produces medicated and nonmedicated feeds. The example facility does not represent any specific operation.

Because food safety plans should be tailored to each individual facility, this plan can’t be used in any specific facility without modifications. The FSPCA strongly recommends “that the guide and example livestock food safety plan be used in conjunction with other information provided by the FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food Participant Manual and associated training course.”

Our guide is freely available on the NC State Extension website and from the FSPCA. It’s expected to be incorporated into the PCAF training manual in the near future.

We hope, with the FSPCA, that this guide is helpful. If you have other questions or would like to discuss your food safety plan (or any other part of the PCAF rule), please contact Marissa Herchler.