Under an amendment to California’s Health and Safety Code enacted last week, training providers issuing personnel certificates to food safety handlers in the state must be accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program, or ANSI-CAP. Instituted as an urgent statute to improve public health and strengthen food safety measures statewide, the act was set into motion earlier this year.
Beginning January 1, 2012, food handlers in California may obtain a food handler card only from ANSI-accredited training providers that meet the American National Standard, ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs. Food handler cards allow food handlers to demonstrate their knowledge of and adherence to proper food handling procedures.
“Consumer confidence and trust in the quality and safety of the food we eat is critical,” said Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice president of accreditation services. “ANSI-CAP accreditation contributes to the assurance of integrity and consistency amongst credentials – in this case throughout the food chain, from facilities to handlers to the consumer.”
Launched in 2009, ANSI-CAP accredits organizations that issue education and training certificates to the U.S. workforce. The program is the first of its kind to offer a formal, third-party process for review and recognition of quality certificate programs, providing independent attestation that said program meets ASTM E2659-09. ANSI-CAP currently has eleven accredited organizations, five full applicants, and fifteen preliminary applicants that are identified in the accreditation directory on the ANSI website.
ANSI-CAP accreditation follows the process outlined in the international standard ISO/IEC 17011, General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Conformity Assessment Bodies. This process includes using specially trained assessors to review documents submitted by applicants against defined requirements, conduct on-site assessments, and make recommendations to the ANSI-CAP Accreditation Committee that is responsible for making the accreditation decisions.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents the diverse interests of more than 125,000 companies and organizations and 3.5 million professionals worldwide.
The Institute is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and is a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).