The food processing and manufacturing industry is the largest sector of the Pennsylvania agricultural economy, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the economic output and 32 percent of the total direct employment. Faculty and staff members, many of which have no formal extension appointments, have developed over 30 short courses and workshops. Programs developed provide science-based solutions to challenging regulatory, quality, and safety issues faced by the industry. Check out each of our courses below or at our list of upcoming events.

We currently offer two courses in an online format: 1) Food Safety and Sanitation for Food Manufacturers (online course) and 2) the Penn State Better Process Control School (virtual presentation).

Our Food Science Certificate Program is a way for those who regularly attend our courses throughout the year to document their commitment to continuing  education.  

Food Science Certificate Program

This program provides food industry professionals with educational opportunities in food safety or food processing and technology, and prepares food industry professionals for career advancement opportunities.

Advanced HACCP Workshop

Advanced HACCP is a 2-day workshop that provides participants with the opportunity to increase their skill and knowledge in developing and improving HACCP plans.

Better Process Control School

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations in 21 CFR 108, 113, and 114, as well as Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) regulations for wholesale processers, require that acidified and low-acid food manufacturers operate with a certified supervisor on hand at all times during production. This BPCS also meets U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) regulations 9 CFR 318.300 and 381.300 for shelf-stable, thermally processed meat and poultry products. Upon successful completion of the course, each participant will receive a certificate that can be used as evidence of knowledge in thermal processing systems, acidification, and container closure evaluation programs for low-acid and acidified canned foods.The instructors are drawn from the Pennsylvania State University, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and industry experts.

Dairy Basics: Fundamentals of Quality and Safety

This one-day workshop addresses the principles of producing high quality and safe dairy foods. Participants in this workshop will gain knowledge of milk properties and practices that are important to producing quality dairy products.

Food Defense Workshop

This course covers the fundamentals of assessing and managing risks associated with intentional contamination in food manufacturing facilities.

Food Microbiology Short Course

The Food Microbiology Short course provides insight into the most recent developments of food-borne pathogens, toxins, and contaminants that may occur in a food plant environment.

Food Mycology Short Course

This 3 day short course is designed to introduce participants to a basic understanding of molds, yeasts and mycotoxins that may occur in foods and in processing environments.

Food Packaging Short Course

A 2.5 day workshop that addresses principles of packaging science including legal and safety aspects, packaging functions and requirements, types of packaging materials, modified atmosphere packaging, active packaging, packaging for emerging processing technologies, shelf life and package testing among other relevant topics. The course involves theory, demonstrations and hands-on experiences along with presentations by packaging industry representatives.

Food Safety & Sanitation for Food Manufacturers (online course)

This is an introductory Internet-based course on food safety and sanitary practices for commercial manufacturers of food products. This self-paced computer course is offered continuously throughout the year.

Food Safety and Sanitation for Food Manufacturers Short Course

Is your company ready for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)? Make plans now to attend the Penn State Food Safety and Sanitation for Food Manufacturers Short Course. This is a comprehensive 2 1/2-day course with lectures and hands-on lab and demonstration program on the essentials of sanitation in food processing plants.

Foreign Supplier Verification Program

The Foreign Supplier Verification Workshop provides the credentials to meet FDA requirements for development and implementation of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.

Fundamentals of Food Science

The Penn State Department of Food Science faculty teach the core concepts of Food Science in context of real-world food examples in this 5 day short course.

Fundamentals of HACCP

Fundamentals of HACCP is a 2 day basic course in HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) taught by certified instructors with extensive experience in food safety training. Particular emphasis is on FDA regulated food products including fresh-cut fruits and vegetables (and mushrooms), juice and cider, baked goods, confections, snack foods, and egg and dairy products. This course is certified through International HACCP Alliance.

Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls Workshop for Small-Scale Dairy Processors

This one-day workshop provides resources and hands-on experience in preparing documents for a food safety plan. This course is intended for small-scale dairy food processors that are exempt from having a full food safety plan prepared by a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) as required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This is not a PCQI certification course.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Programs (HACCP) for Meat and Poultry Processors

This course covers the fundamentals of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and the application in meat and poultry processing operations. It provides the participant with hands-on experience in developing a HACCP plan. This course is certified by the International HACCP Alliance and meets USDA requirements for HACCP training.

Ice Cream 101 "Introduction to Frozen Desserts"

This annual course focuses on the small-scale manufacturing of frozen desserts and those interested in ice cream.

Ice Cream Short Course

Learn the ins and outs of ice cream manufacturing as knowledgeable instructors take you from "Cow to Cone" at the annual Penn State Ice Cream Short Course.

Intro to Descriptive Analysis Short Course

This workshop addresses everything you need to know about descriptive analysis. The first day and a half will focus on what, why, and how to conduct descriptive analysis. The optional last half day will feature a Compusense data workshop covering panelist assessment and training using their Feedback Calibration Method and Descriptive Analysis Workbook.

Listeria Control in Ready-to-Eat Foods

This one day course will provide a basic understanding of post-harvest or post-slaughter control of Listeria contamination.

Mushroom Food Safety

This course focuses on the food safety risks associated with the production of whole and sliced mushrooms and control measures that prevent these risks.

Pasteurization Short Course

Participants in this 3 day course will gain knowledge on the operational and regulatory procedures used for pasteurization, with an emphasis on milk. The course focuses on the components of the HTST system, and also addresses vat pasteurization and UHT processing.

Penn State - Ingredion Plant Based Yogurt Alternative Short Course

In this 3-day hybrid short course, class participants will learn the difference and challenges in formulating yogurt alternatives versus traditional yogurts, understand the breadth and functionality of plant-proteins that are available for formulation, and take away a toolbox of solutions to formulating and processing in the yogurt alternative space.

Penn State Chocolate Short Course

A Bean-to-Bar course for both craft and industrial chocolate manufacturers. During this 5-day course, successful craft chocolate entrepreneurs, equipment manufacturers, and Penn State faculty will instruct you in the theory and practice of chocolate production from the selection of raw materials through the marketing of finished product.

Penn State Cultured Dairy Products

This annual course provides participants with an overview of basic dairy technology and the manufacture of cultured dairy products, including buttermilk, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese.

Pennsylvania Association for Food Protection (PAFP)

This two-day program for sanitarians, lab managers, plant managers, food transportation, small processors, and regulatory personnel will cover engaging topics for all involved in getting food products safely from farm to table.

Preventive Controls for Human Foods Certification Workshop

The Preventive Controls for Human Foods Certification Workshop provides certification (FSPCA certificate) to meet FDA requirements for PCQI (Preventive Controls Qualified Individual) for the development and implementation of HACCP based systems as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.

Preventive Controls for Human Foods – Dairy Foods Processing

The Preventive Controls for Human Foods – Dairy Foods Processing course (FSPCA curriculum) replaces the Dairy HACCP workshop (NCIMS curriculum) to provide standardized training for Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PQCIs) to meet the FDA requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to the Food Safety and Preventive Controls Alliance curriculum, this 3 day course will cover typical hazards associated with dairy processing, use dairy product examples for all breakout work groups, and discuss the transition from the PMO Appendix K HACCP system to a FSMA Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Prevent Control system. This course is presented by FSPCA-approved instructors from Penn State.

Principles of Sensory Evaluation

This 2.5 day workshop addresses the basic principles of sensory science from discrimination and acceptance testing to good laboratory procedures to the theoretical underpinnings for these practices. The course is delivered in a classroom and laboratory environment, and includes a mixture of theory, demonstrations, and laboratory activities using Compusense Cloud.

Sanitary Transport of Foods – Online Training for Food Carriers, Loaders, and Unloaders

This course provides you with the necessary training to meet requirements of the FDAs Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) within your company. The ruling on the Sanitary Transport of Human and Animal Food is the FDAs effort to protect foods from farm to table. FSMA was established in 2011, and in April of 2017 the FDA applied their ruling to sanitary transport.

The Science and Art of Cheese Making Short Course

This 4 day course covers the materials and processes used to make specialty cheese for farmstead and artisan dairy processors and others interested in cheese.