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Better Process Control School


Course Code: LF0703WA22

Better Process Control School for Canned Food

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Dates & Time

Last Held: August 9-13, 2021
9:00am - 2:45pm* EDT (Log in time: 8:45am EDT)
*This time is approximate and may end earlier on certain days depending on exams/make-up exams.

Next offering TBD


Student Reviews

Rutgers University

[On Course Instructors Don Schaffner and Karl Matthews]: "Both of these presenters did an amazing job of keeping the material interesting and giving additional fun facts to keep us engaged."

- Meaghan Buchanan,
Quality Control Assurance,
Efco Products

Student Reviews

Rutgers University

"This course is the first step to becoming a processing authority. Overall content is very useful and I learned a lot about aseptic processing."

- Miao Guo,
Food Safety Manager,

Comply with FDA/USDA regulations while advancing your food processing knowledge

Do you work in a plant that packs and thermally processes low-acid foods and acidified foods in hermetically sealed containers? Could your canned food products be vulnerable to contamination? Better Process Control School provides the training you need to comply with federal regulations, reduce your susceptibility, and minimize your liability.

This virtual online course provides essential information on how to effectively control the risks associated with manufacturing commercially-sterile foods, and how to comply with the U.S. laws that exist to prevent public health problems resulting from contamination in canned food products.

FDA and USDA Regulations Addressed by Better Process Control School

This virtual online course meets the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulations in 21 CFR 108, 113, and 114, which require that each processor of low-acid and acidified low-acid canned foods (including pet foods) operate with a certified supervisor on hand at all times during processing. It also meets similar regulations and training requirements set forth in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulations 9 CFR 318.300 and 381.300 for thermally processed meat and poultry products.

Increase Your Knowledge of Food Processing Principles

In addition to satisfying FDA and USDA requirements, Better Process Control School course attendees learn the practical applications of the principles underlying these regulations. You will increase your understanding of key concepts such as thermal processing system operations, microbiological food safety, equipment operations, and acidification and container closure evaluation programs for low acid and acidified canned foods.

BPCS Course Format

The Rutgers University Better Process Control School is approved by the FDA and follows the prescribed course of instruction for certification. After each section of the course is taught, students immediately take the related exam while the information is still fresh in their minds. Scores are provided before the next exam begins. To successfully complete the course, participants must attend all five half day sessions and pass the exams with a score of 70% or higher. Participants who meet these requirements become BPCS certified, and they also receive a certificate of training from Rutgers University.

Attention International Students

We cannot accept registrations from international students after July 9, 2021, due to International Mail Service Suspensions in various countries brought on by the pandemic.

Better Process Control School Video Preview

Better Process Control School: Video Preview
Dr. Don Schaffner provides a quick tip for making processed foods safer.

Better Course Control School: Additional Details

Read more about what to expect at Better Process Control School! Click to expand each section.

Better Process Control School Course Topics

This food safety training course will cover the following topics over five days of virtual online instruction:

  • FDA Remarks
  • Microbiology of Thermally Processed Foods
  • Acidified Foods
  • Principles of Thermal Processing
  • Food Plant Sanitation
  • Food Container Handling
  • Records and Recordkeeping
  • Equipment, Instrumentation, and Operation for Thermal Processing
  • Retorts (including Still Steam Retorts, Still Steam Retorts Processing with Overpressure, Hydrostatic Retorts, Continuous Rotary Retorts, and Batch Agitating Retorts)
  • Aseptic Processing and Packaging
  • Container Closures: Double Steamed Metal, Plastic, Glass, Flexible, and Semirigid
Meet Your Better Process Control School Instructors

Don Schaffner, PhD - Distinguished Professor and Extension Specialist, Dept. of Food Science, Rutgers University

Karl Matthews, PhD - Professor, Department Chair, Dept. of Food Science, Rutgers University

Rieks Bruins
Associate Director, Center for Advanced Food Technology (CAFT)
Director, Combat Ration Network (CORANET), DLA ManTech Program

Rieks has been the project manager for various Projects in the areas of Quality Data Management, Manufacturability of Combat Rations, Non Destructive Quality Assurance Testing and Process Optimization. His expertise in retort processing optimization in particular pressure profiles for semi rigid containers is well known. He holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical Institute of Twente, Netherlands. Prior to joining CAFT in 1989, he worked eleven years at General Foods Corp. focusing on the development and commercialization of processes for new and improved products.

Here's what students have to say about the Better Process Control School instructional team:

  • "All presenters were very knowledgeable in their area of expertise. Great diversity of background and experience."
    - T. Wright, Associate Process Engineer
  • "Easy to follow/good learning experience."
  • "Knowledgeable, engaging speakers."
  • "Instructors are very friendly and knowledgeable."
Who Should Participate?

This virtual online course has been specifically designed for supervisors, quality control technicians, line workers involved in retort operations, aseptic processing and packaging system operators, and container closure inspectors at facilities that produce or handle low-acid and acidified canned foods. It is an is an excellent educational opportunity for mid-level managers and employees of food processing plants that utilize thermal processing. Food safety and quality assurance personnel, individuals who work with canned and flexible packaged food products, academia, and government auditors and inspectors can also benefit from attending this course.

Past attendees have included:

  • Food Safety Officers
  • Food Safety Specialists
  • Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs Manager
  • Food Processing Plant Managers
  • Food Safety Consultants
  • Food Scientists and Food Technologists
  • Quality Assurance/Quality Control Professionals
  • Public Health Professionals
  • Research & Development / Product Development Professionals
  • Staff Engineers
Student Reviews of Better Process Control School

"Obtained detailed knowledge about thermal processing. Learned about retort types, conditions and packaging options. Made me very aware of the processing and its challenges."
- Charles Caligiuri, Senior Seasoning Flavorist / Savory Applications, IFF, NJ

"[Enrolled to] cross train to fill in for co-manager of cannery. Gained a much better understanding of processes [I] was not familiar with."
- D. Vincent Kieffer, QA Manager, The Mushroom Company

"Excellent overview of all topics concerning food manufacturing thermal procedures."
- Brett Logan, Production Supervisor, Conagra Foods, PA

"Very informative. Great instructors."
- Joseph Pagano, Associate Food Technologist, Robertet Flavors, NJ

"[Most useful topics were] the federal regulations, safety precautions [and] food safety aspects. Very informative, interesting, educational."
- Vanessa Varela, Quality Control Specialist, Goya Foods, NJ

"[I gained] an understanding of equipment operation and critical functions of the equipment required to ensure food safety...essential in identifying capable suppliers."
- Contract Manufacturing Account Manager

"[I learned about] microbiology sanitation, aseptic packaging, closures, flexible packaging, and measurement of free chlorine in product contact cooling water."
- M. Battell, Quality Assurance Manager

"[I learned the] differences between FDA and USDA requirements."
- B. Denver, Supervisor

"I learned what back pressure actually is and now I can talk intelligently about it."
- K. Brinkley, Aseptic Process Operator

"[I learned] how pH affects the potency of some disinfectants."
- Quality Control Professional

"I found the breadth of the program useful, not a specific topic. I liked the teaching/testing format in that it forced concentration and attention to the most important parts. The course was well run and the material was covered well."
- C. Branda, Manager, Plant Engineering and R&D

"I gained insight into what the FDA would be looking for during an audit."
- C. Gonzalez, Production Manager

Approved Credits

In addition to 2.1 Rutgers CEUs, this food safety training course has been approved for the following credits:

This program qualifies for Certified Food Scientist (CFS) recertification contact hours (CH). CFS Certificants may claim a maximum of 22.5 CH for their participation in this program. For more information, please visit www.ift.org/certification or email ifscc@ift.org.

Rutgers University, NJAES, Office of Continuing Professional Education has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs). Participants who complete this education program will be awarded 22.0 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).

Early Registration Fee TBD  
Registration Fee TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


No meals will be provided.

Accessing this Virtual Online Course

This virtual online class will be delivered via Canvas and Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with a link to access the course on August 6, 2021, as well as a document with tips on how to use Canvas and Zoom.

Equipment you will need to access this training:

  • A computer or tablet
  • Microphones and webcams are required. Webcams are required to stay on during the exams.

Photo ID Requirement:

Each registrant will be asked provide a photo of him/herself holding their government-issued photo ID. This is required by credit boards so that you may receive credits for participating in this online course.

  • You will receive a reminder email prior to the start of the class with further instructions. Wait to receive these instructions before you attempt to upload your ID.
  • The photo must be clear enough that we can read your name and verify that the person pictured on the ID is in fact the person holding it.
  • After an OCPE staff member reviews the picture and verifies your identity, you will have access to participate in the course when it begins.


  • If this is your first time registering with us, please provide your own unique email address when registering; do not provide an email address that you share with co-workers.

  • If you have previously taken classes with us and have used an email address that you share with your co-workers or supervisor, you must update your account with a unique email address. Click the Register Online button below and sign into your account. On the left side toolbar, click My Account. On the drop-down menu, click Edit Profile/Password. Scroll down to the Email Address field (not the secondary email address field!) and enter your own, individual (not shared!) email address here. Click the Submit button at the bottom to save. If you need assistance updating your account, please email or call (848-932-9271, option 2) our Registration Department.

Note: Pre-registration is required.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified about upcoming courses? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our email list:
1. Click here to join our email list (please select "Food Science & Safety" as your Area of Interest) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Suzanne Hills, 848-932-7234
Administrative Assistant: Arleth Mendoza, 848-932-7764

Attention U.S. Veterans

This course is approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill®. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

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