The very first virtual Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) training program, out of a training series of PCQIs since 2019, was conducted from 24 to 26 June, in furtherance of the NCE’s value added services to exporters in the food sector.
The USA which is an important as well as the biggest individual export market of Sri Lanka has made the certificate related to this training mandatory for food safety professionals in export enterprises in the processed food sector, for their products to enter the USA market.
The training curriculum of the PCQI has been developed by the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, which is a body of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to facilitate the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The objective of the training is to deliver the standard curriculum to the participants who are food safety professionals employed in export oriented enterprises in the food sector.
Participants from the tea, spices, and coconut products sectors as well as fresh fruits and vegetables industries benefitted from the virtual training program. The training was delivered by Kema Vasenth, Executive of the Chamber who is a Lead Instructor for Preventive Controls for Human Food.
Kema is a qualified FSSC 22000, ISO 9001 and Ethical Trade Auditor. She has experience in quality assurance, and food safety management systems in the food industry. She is also actively involved in certification activities on ethical trade, developed by the NCE. Kema has conducted several training programs to help food exporters to the USA to meet compliance requirements.
The training curriculum was delivered through the Zoom online platform. Group activities, exercises and discussions, were included in the training program, to enable participants to address any difficulties encountered by them in implementing FSMA Regulations.
As such they were able to acquire knowledge as to how they could mitigate the issues related to the regulations. The facilitation techniques utilised by the trainer included group discussions, case study presentations, and discussions, as well as the address of issues related to the practical implementation of some of the topics of the training, by the trainees.
On completion of the training, participants were able to acquire foundation knowledge to develop, implement, and to maintain the food safety plan required by the FDA, under the FSMA Regulations. The objective of the training is also to fulfill the requirement of the FDA, that food exporting enterprises should at least have one PCQI qualified professional in their enterprises, which will provide a competitive advantage to Sri Lankan food and beverage exporters to the USA.
Certificates are issued to successful participants of the training program. The certificates in respect of 10 PCQIs who completed the training program of mandatory 20 hours of direct contact will be awarded their certificates at a business forum of the chamber to be held in July this year.
The recognised PCQIs from this particular session are from Imperial Tea Exports Ltd., Swanee Mills Ltd., Serendipol Ltd., HDDES Extracts Ltd., Mabroc Teas Ltd. and Saaraketha Holdings Ltd.
The Chamber proposes to conduct the next training program in August this year.