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The Better Process Control School (BPCS)

The Better Process Control School (BPCS), an international certification course for processors of low acid and acidified foods, was first offered in Jamaica in 1980 by the University of Maryland in collaboration with the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the Food Technology Institute (Washington DC). In 1995 the University of the West Indies through the Department of Chemistry assumed responsibility for the School’s operation. The UWI is recognised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an approved University for delivery of the BPCS programme and, is the first non-US institution to be accorded certifying privileges for the BPCS (1997/9). Approval of the UWI’s BPCS was a significant achievement for the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and an important development for our food industry. Initially, offered biennially by the UWI, the BPCS is now an annual event as such it is anticipated that the next BPCS will be held in January 2014. Monitoring of the operations and administration of the School is carried out by the regulatory agencies the BSJ and the FDA. In its 17 years of operation the BPCS at UWI has certified over 335 participants. There are often several registrants from the wider Caribbean region attending each course.

Factories processing low acid or acidified foods in order to be compliant with Jamaican regulations must have persons supervising thermal processing operations who have successfully completed an approved course of study.  Traditionally this has been the Better Process Control School. The BPCS satisfies the relevant US Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR Parts 108, 113 and 114). Manufacturers of acidified and low-acid foods must have a supervisor, who has been certified as having satisfactorily completed the BPCS, present for each processing operation in the factory. In many instances this means that at least 2 certified supervisors must be employed to each establishment to provide adequate coverage.

Donna Minott-Kates, BPCS Coordinator

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