NEHA January/February 2024 Journal of Environmental Health


Knowledge Areas ( N = 59) From the National Curriculum Standard Framework

Knowledge Area Active managerial control (AMC)

Food service

Plan review and facility design

Advocacy Allergens Auditing Budgets

Food systems and sustainability


Food transportation

Prevailing health principles

Foodborne illness investigation and response

Preventive controls

Formula review

Professional skills (soft skills)



Public relations Research design

Change management Communications skills Continuity of operations

Hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP)

Human resource management

Resource leveraging


Retail HACCP and variance

Cottage foods

Incident command system (ICS)

Risk analysis

Employee safety

Ingredients and additives

Sampling techniques

Environmental health safety

Inspections, compliance, and enforcement

Science and technology Specialized process Stakeholder support


Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS)

FDA Food Code , local ordinances, codes


Food defense



Food defense vulnerability assessment


Statistical analysis

Food emergencies

Laboratory methodology

Temporary food establishments

Food preparation techniques

Legislative affairs policymaking

Traceability and recalls

Food processing and preservation

Microbiology Pest control


Food salvage and disposal

Note. FDA = Food and Drug Administration.

Our Approach

ter experts through 2015 to build the NCS framework. Since then, the e„ort has mostly been on revalidating content that had been developed into online coursework. A needs assessment of retail food protec- tion professionals was conducted by IFPTI in 2012 to understand if retail food protection professionals felt they had received suŽcient training in the NCS knowledge areas. While this assessment was a great first step, it did not ask respondents to determine the relevance of and exposure to these key NCS knowledge areas. To better understand the current train- ing needs of the retail food regulatory work- force, NEHA collaborated with FDA and other partners to develop an updated training needs assessment. The goal of the needs assessment was to not only determine if the workforce was adequately trained but also explore if there are inequities in exposure to knowledge resources based on the individual characteristics, loca- tion, or regulatory agency size of respondents.

us in a natural direction toward the National Curriculum Standard (NCS). FSMA was enacted in 2011 with the goal of preventing food contamination rather than reacting to foodborne illness and outbreaks (Food and Drug Administration [FDA], 2023a). The purpose of the IFSS mandate was to improve national coordination of food safety e„orts (FDA, 2023b). IFSS required all levels of government to train professionals using a fully accessible and transferable body of knowledge. This system led to the NCS, which is a “national competency standard for human and animal food regulatory pro- fessionals, across their entire careers” (Inter- national Food Protection Training Institute, n.d.). The International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI) was awarded a cooperative agreement grant in 2012 through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to build out the NCS. IFPTI met regularly with regulatory associations and subject mat-

Collaborative Survey Design As part of the Retail Flexible Funding Model cooperative agreement with the OŽce of Part- nerships at FDA, NEHA collaborated with a joint advisory group—including experts from FDA in relevant content areas such as train- ing, policy, and food regulation—to develop an updated training needs assessment. We jointly agreed to use the NCS as the source of knowledge areas in our assessment. The NCS is validated and acknowledged in the field of retail food safety. Because so much expert work and valuable experience from on-the- ground retail food regulatory professionals has been incorporated into the NCS, we felt that it would be the most valid tool to use to define key knowledge areas for retail food safety professionals. These 59 knowledge areas provided us with a strong framework for examining training needs (Table 1).


January/February 2024 • Journal of Environmental Health

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