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PCAF: Preventive Controls

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Preventive controls are part of the regulations introduced by the FDA after passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011. They’re described in Subpart C of the Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF) rule.

For an overview of how preventive controls fit in with the PCAF rule, see our diagrams below.

tree diagram showing the hierarchical relationship between the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and CFR 21, including the Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF) rule

tree diagram showing the hierarchical relationship between the parts of the Preventive Controls for Animal Food (PCAF) rule

tree diagram showing the hierarchical relationship between the parts of Subpart C of the PCAF rule

What are Preventive Controls?

Preventive controls are those risk-based, reasonably appropriate procedures, practices, and processes that a person knowledgeable about the safe manufacturing, processing, packing of holding of animal food would employ to significantly minimize or prevent the hazards identified under the hazard analysis that are consistent with the current scientific understanding of safe food manufacturing, processing, packing or holding at the time of the analysis.

Types of controls

There are four (4) types of preventive controls:

  1. process controls,
  2. sanitation controls,
  3. supply-chain applied controls, and
  4. other controls.

This section will discuss process and sanitation controls, which are important because they are the most commonly used preventive controls.

Process controls utilize procedures, practices, and processes to either significantly minimize or prevent a hazard in animal food. This allows the facility to establish specific parameters that must be met in order to assure that animal food safety is protected and provides for evidence-based protection of animal food.

Sanitation controls are most appropriate to control environmental pathogens when finished product is exposed to the environment prior to packaging or when pathogens are transferred through cross-contamination. Preventive controls are subject to preventive control management components to ensure the effectiveness of the preventive controls, such as monitoring, corrective actions and corrections, and verification (including validation).

Supply-chain applied controls are uncommon in the animal food industries. The supply-chain program is part of Subpart E because the process has many more steps involved than process or sanitation controls.

Other controls are procedures, practices, and processes necessary to significantly minimize or prevent hazards. Examples of other controls could include hygiene training and other current good manufacturing practices. Other controls are also expected to be uncommonly used in animal food safety plans.

Additional Information

Marissa Herchler Cohen
NC State University
Cooperative Extension Service
Prestage Department of Poultry Science
234 D Scott Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-7608

Phone: +1 919.515.5396