Certified Professional - Food Safety (CP-FS) Credential


CP-FS Credential Exam and Application Information

The CP-FS Credential exam and application information can be viewed / printed in the subcategories below:

Eligibility Requirements

CP-FS Refrigerator Inspection, Food Safety CredentialTo be eligible for the CP-FS credential exam, a candidate must meet the criteria for 1, 2 or 3 as follows:

  1. Degree Track: You are eligible for the credential if you have:

    1. A Bachelor’s degree in environmental health from a degree program accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council. To find out if your degree program has been accredited by EHAC, please visit their website at: http://www.nehspac.org/about-ehac/accredited-programs-ehac-undergraduate-programs/; OR

    2. a Bachelor’s degree with at least two (2) years experience in food protection; OR

    3. a Bachelor’s degree and possession of the NEHA REHS/RS credential

  2. Experience Track: You are eligible for the credential if you have:

    1. an Associate’s degree and four (4) years of progressive experience in food-related work, and successful passage of the Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM), Food Safety Managers Certification Examination (FSMCE), SuperSafe Mark Exam, or ServSafe exam; OR

    2. a High School Diploma or GED and five (5) years of progressive experience in food-related work, and successful passage of the Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM), Food Safety Managers Certification Examination (FSMCE), SuperSafe Mark Exam, or ServSafe exam

  3. “In-Training” Status: If you are applying under condition 1 of the eligibility requirements, but do not yet have the required work experience, you may apply for an “In-Training” Status registration. You will have three (3) years to acquire the necessary experience to transfer your registration to full-credential status. If you do not acquire the necessary experience in three years, your “In-Training” status will expire. In order to obtain the credential you will need to once again apply and be found eligible to take the exam.

Exam / Application Fees

All fees should accompany the NEHA Application for Professional Credentials (PDF)  

 

  Member Rate Non-MemberRate
Application Fee $90.00 $125.00
Examination Fee $155.00 $265.00
Pearson VUE Fee $110.00 $110.00

 

Completing the Application

Applications must be completed and returned to NEHA for review at least 4 weeks prior to the exam date. If an application is received less than 4 weeks prior to when an examination is being given you may have to schedule the exam for another date.

A complete application should include:

  1. Completed NEHA Application for Professional Credentials.

  2. Official College Transcripts or official high school transcripts or GED. To be considered an official transcript it should be received at the NEHA office in the sealed envelope from the schools Registrar’s Office/Transcript Office.

  3. Copy of Certified Professional Food Manager (CPFM), Food Safety Managers Certification Examination (FSMCE), SuperSafe Mark Exam, or ServSafe exam (if applicable)

  4. Appropriate fees.

  5. Third party review (applicable for foreign candidates).

 

Foreign Applicants

If you have college or university education from outside the United States or its territories, you must have your foreign education evaluated by a “third party” foreign education evaluation service to determine equivalency to a Bachelor’s degree in the United States.  You must submit an evaluation report with your NEHA Credential Application or the report can be sent by the evaluation service directly to NEHA.

NEHA strongly recommends you choose a service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).  For information on NACES member companies, go to www.naces.org.

Official Canadian university transcripts are accepted without a third party evaluation if they are in English.

Exam Description and Content Outline

The CP-FS examination consists of a total of 140 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are given a total of two and ½ hours (2.5) hours to complete the exam. There will be a total of 140 items on the examination, 120 of which will be scored and 20 unscored pilot items. The scored items are reflective of the exam blueprint listed below.

Below is an outline of the seven (7) different content areas the examination covers and the percentages allotted to each of those areas. Please use this outline as a guide when preparing for the examination. 
 

Duties and Tasks

Percentage

A

Developing Food Safety Policies, Procedures, and Training

20.00%

1

Identify the five risk factors

 

2

Identify potential areas for contamination

 

3

Identify food pathogen attributes

 

4

Develop good manufacturing practices (GMPs)

 

5

Develop allergen control procedures

 

6

Develop standard operating procedures (SOPs)

 

7

Develop standard sanitary operating procedures (SSOPs)

 

8

Develop specific food preparation policies and procedures

 

9

Develop an integrated pest management (IPM) plan

 

10

Develop employee hygiene practices and policies

 

11

Develop good retail practices (GRPs)

 

12

Identify root cause of adverse food safety conditions

 

13

Develop sample collection, testing, and evaluation procedures

 

14

Develop emergency policies and procedures

 

15

Establish a training plan

 

16

Ensure compliance with state and local training requirements

 

17

Develop HACCP plans

 

18

Administer employee training

 

B

Assessing Food Safety

33.33%

1

Assemble inspection equipment

 

2

Calibrate food safety equipment

 

3

Schedule the inspection

 

4

Evaluate HACCP programs

 

5

Review compliance history

 

6

Conduct a menu review

 

7

Determine food sources

 

8

Assess time and temperature controls

 

9

Evaluate employee behaviors

 

10

Evaluate HACCP plans

 

11

Evaluate storage practices

 

12

Assess cross-contamination of foods

 

13

Evaluate waste management practices

 

14

Evaluate chemical handling practices

 

15

Evaluate cleaning and sanitizing practices

 

16

Evaluate controls of special foods

 

17

Evaluate storage areas

 

18

Analyze food preparation activities

 

19

Assess food equipment

 

20

Review administrative documentation

 

21

Assess plumbing hazards

 

22

Assess risk factors

 

23

Document assessment findings

 

24

Assess pest control practices

 

25

Assess employee hygiene practices

 

26

Evaluate the need and frequency of food safety assessments

 

27

Manage the flow of foods

 

28

Interpret test results

 

29

Analyze food safety inspection findings

 

30

Draft required responses for violations

 

31

Develop a corrective action plan

 

32

Verify the operator's knowledge of a risk control plan

 

33

Review whether or not a risk control plan is being used

 

34

Educate food service staff

 

35

Communicate post-inspection findings to the person in charge

 

C

Reviewing Establishment Plans

10.00%

1

Research local laws and regulations

 

2

Apply for licenses, permits, and variances

 

3

Compare menus to site conditions

 

4

Review external site plans

 

5

Evaluate food/product flow

 

6

Evaluate hazards in food/product flow

 

7

Evaluate plumbing, electrical, and mechanical infrastructure

 

8

Determine hot water demands

 

9

Assess ware washing needs

 

10

Evaluate food storage needs

 

11

Evaluate restroom needs

 

12

Evaluate sewage disposal system

 

13

Evaluate facility lighting

 

14

Evaluate the facility walls, floors, and ceilings

 

15

Evaluate potable water sources

 

16

Evaluate transport equipment

 

17

Evaluate handwashing needs

 

18

Review finish schedule

 

19

Review employee training

 

20

Review HACCP plans

 

21

Verify physical build is according to plans

 

22

Verify equipment certifications

 

23

Verify compliance with local, state, or federal laws and regulations

 

24

Verify establishment licenses and permits

 

D

Investigating Foodborne Illness

15.00%

1

Determine legitimacy of foodborne illness

 

2

Communicate with appropriate agencies regarding the investigation process

 

3

Communicate with internal and external stakeholders regarding the investigation 
process

 

4

Interview cases of foodborne illness

 

5

Establish 72 hour food history

 

6

Collect case samples

 

7

Conduct suspected facility investigations

 

8

Evaluate food preparation practices

 

9

Identify employee impacts on a case

 

10

Hold food for disposition

 

11

Collect food samples

 

12

Collect facility samples

 

13

Initiate a trace back

 

14

Manage internal and external crisis communications

 

15

Abate existing violations

 

16

Write foodborne illness reports

 

17

Coordinate incident recovery processes

 

E

Performing Recall Activities

6.67%

1

Train staff on recall activities

 

2

Conduct mock recalls

 

3

Submit regulatory information

 

4

Determine implicated products

 

5

Determine effected lot numbers

 

6

Secure distribution lists

 

7

Communicate recall information to stakeholders

 

8

Prevent future sales of recalled products

 

9

Verify effected products were removed

 

10

Execute disposition of affected products

 

11

Manage consumer inquiries regarding recall

 

F

Managing Food Defense Practices

6.67%

1

Conduct food defense vulnerability assessments

 

2

Identify food defense hazards

 

3

Develop a food defense plan

 

4

Establish food defense enforcement protocols

 

5

Implement corrective action plans

 

6

Collaborate with federal, state, and local regulatory agencies

 

7

Train employees on food defense plans

 

8

Conduct food defense drills

 

9

Identify a suspect food defense event

 

10

Communicate critical information to internal and external stakeholders

 

11

Perform post event analysis

 

G

Responding to Emergencies

8.33%

1

Determine parameters for ceasing operations

 

2

Coordinate the emergency response team

 

3

Identify risks associated with the emergency

 

4

Identify emerging risks associated with the event

 

5

Segregate contaminated foods

 

6

Contact regulatory agencies regarding emergencies

 

7

Communicate emergency information to stakeholders

 

8

Activate the recovery plan

 

9

Assess infrastructure for capacity to operate

 

10

Evaluate a facility's ability to reopen

 

11

Verify compliance with emergency response plans

 

Totals

100.00%

 

Exam Scheduling and Locations

Candidates can choose to schedule the CP-FS examination in several different ways:
 

  1. The CP-FS exam is offered annually at the NEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) & Exhibition.

  2. State Affiliate and Regional Meetings periodically offer the CP-FS exam at their meetings/conferences. An up to date listing of these meeting/conference offerings can be found here on the Events Calendar.

  3. Candidates can choose to take the exam on computer through Pearson VUE.  By choosing this option candidates can schedule the examination at their convenience at one of Pearson VUE’s testing locations nationwide. To find a Pearson VUE testing center near you please visit www.pearsonvue.com/neha. Taking the exam at Pearson VUE not only offers the candidate flexibility in scheduling the exam, but also allows the candidate to receive his/her unofficial scores immediately following the conclusion of the exam.
     

  4. Special test sites may be arranged through NEHA in cooperation with the test vendor, PTI. In order to accommodate requests for special test sites, arrangements must be made a minimum of 6-8 weeks prior to the requested date. The fee to set up a special test site is $350.00. For groups of 10 or more CP-FS candidates, the special test site fee is waived. Please complete the Special Test Site Request form (Appendix A) and return it to NEHA with your application.  There must be at least three (3) people taking the exam to set up a special test site.

Admission to the Exam

PEARSON VUE COMPUTER TESTING CANDIDATES:

NEHA will email you an authorization letter when your application is processed as approved. The email will have your Pearson VUE ID number and the Pearson VUE website to schedule a testing time.  On test day please bring your photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport).

 

PAPER AND PENCIL EXAMS:

NEHA will send an admission ticket approximately 2 weeks prior to your test date. The admission ticket will detail the exam date and location, reporting time, and starting time. Those that do not appear on the date of the exam at the appropriate time will forfeit all exam fees. Persons arriving after the examination has started may not be admitted.

If you lost your admission ticket or have not received an admission ticket at least 2 days prior to the test date, please contact NEHA immediately. Only approved candidates will be admitted to the exam. No walk-in applicants will be admitted.

On test day please bring with you your admission ticket, photo identification (i.e. driver’s license or passport), and sharpened #2 pencils.

Scores and Retaking the Exam

Scores

The scaled passing score for the CP-FS is 650. Your score will be based on the number of questions answered correctly. If you are unsure of the answer it is better to guess. You will not be given credit for any question left blank.

Beginning in July 2013, the NEHA CP-FS examination will report scores using scale scores that range from 0 to 900 with a passing score of 650.  The raw passing score is mathematically transformed so that the passing scaled score equals 650.  This process is similar to the way one adjusts Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales. While the values may differ the temperatures are the same.  For example, water boils at the same temperature regardless of the scale used.

Candidates who pass the examination will earn scaled scores between 650 and above and those who fail earn a scale score between 0 and 649.  A scaled score is NOT a percentage score.  In summary, a scale score is merely a transformation of a raw score. Scaling is done to report comparable results when forms and raw passing scores vary over time.

Your exam results will be mailed to you from the NEHA office 4-6 weeks after the administration. To insure confidentiality, exam scores will not be released over the phone, via fax or email.

 

Retaking the Exam

An individual who fails a credential exam will receive a retake application 4-6 weeks after they tested. The individual must wait 90 days after the date of their last exam before they may retake the exam.  There is no limit to the number of times an individual may retake the exam.

You may submit your retake application and pay at any time and will receive a notification 4-6 weeks later with information on setting up the exam.  Retake applications are valid for a period of 2 years from the date of your last exam. If you do not take the exam within 2 years of your last exam, then you will need to reapply for the credential and pay all applicable fees.

Recommended Study References

Study Guide: Certified Professional-Food Safety (CP-FS) Manual,  (Third Edition), NEHA

NEHA's (CP-FS) Manual (Third Edition) - Study Guide

 

Available in Paperback or iBook: 


 

Online Education: Credential Review Courses : CP-FS

 


Individual References

  1. NEHA's CP-FS Manual (Third Edition), NEHA

  2. Federal Drug Administration 2009 Food Code:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/FoodCode/
    UCM2019396.htm

  3. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21:http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm

  4. Modern Food Microbiology (Seventh Edition), 2005, J. M. Jay, M. J. Loessner, and 
    D. A. Golden

  5. Bioterrorism Act of 2002: http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/
    ucm148797.htm

  6. CARVER + Shock: Enhancing Food Defense:http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm094560.htm

  7. Emerging Infectious Diseases (Volume 18, Number 3), 2012.http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/content/18/3/contents.htm

  8. Food Establishment Plan Review Guide:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/Industryand
    RegulatoryAssistanceandTrainingResources/ucm101639.htm

  9. CIFOR: Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response:http://www.cifor.us/documents/CIFORGuidelinesforFoodborneDiseaseOutbreak
    Response-updated.pdf

  10. Conference for Food Protection: Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments:http://foodprotect.org/media/guide/EmergencyActionPlanforRetailFood
    Establishments2008.pdf

  11. Investigations Operations Manual 2012: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/IOM/
    default.htm

  12. Essentials of Food Safety and Sanitation, 4th Edition, 2005. D. McSwane, N. Rue, and
    R. Linton

  13. Guidance for Industry: Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/
    FoodDefense/ucm082751.htm

  14. Managing Food Safety: A Regulator’s Manual For Applying HACCP Principles to 
    Risk-based Retail and Food Service Inspections and Evaluating Voluntary Food Safety 
    Management Systems:http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFood
    Protection/ManagingFoodSafetyHACCPPrinciples/Regulators/UCM078159.pdf

  15. Environmental Engineering, 5th Edition, 2003. J.A. Salvato, N. Nemerow, F. Agardy 

  16. Reportable Food Registry for Industry:http://www.fda.gov/Food/ComplianceEnforcement/RFR/default.htm

  17. Principles of Food Sanitation, 5th Edition, 2006, N.G. Marriott and R.B. Gravani

  18. Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/RetailFoodProtection/ProgramStandards
    /ucm245340.htm

  19. FEMA Incident Command System Overview: http://www.fema.gov/incident-
    command-system

  20. Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007:http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/FederalFoodDrugandCosmetic
    ActFDCAct/SignificantAmendmentstotheFDCAct/FoodandDrugAdministration
    AmendmentsActof2007/default.htm

  21. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA):http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm

  22. Guide to Traceback of Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Implicated in Epidemiological 
    Investigations: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/InspectionGuides/ucm075005.htm

  23. IUFoST Scientific Information Bulletin (SIB): Food Traceability, 2012:http://www.iufost.org/iufostftp/IUF.SIB.Food%20Traceability.pdf

  24. HACCP Principles & Application Guidelines:http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/HACCP/ucm2006801.htm

  25. FEMA: National Incident Management System: http://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system

  26. The HACCP Food Safety Manual, 1995, Joan K. Loken

  27. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th Edition, 2004. APHA, Ed. By 
    David Heymann, MD

 

 

 

Special Accommodations

Special Accommodations for Candidates with Disabilities or Impairments

NEHA is committed to ensuring that no individual is deprived of the opportunity to take a credentialing examination solely by reason of a disability or impairment. All test centers are fully accessible and compliant with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

To make a request for special accommodations you must complete the NEHA ADA Request Form, including the specific diagnosis of your disability; submit medical records, or other written proof of the diagnosis by an appropriate licensed professional; and the type of accommodation being requested.  All forms and documentation must be returned to NEHA at least 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date. To receive a copy of the form please contact Credentialing@neha.org.

If the forms are not returned to NEHA within 8 weeks prior to the scheduled test date your request for special accommodations may not be honored or may be delayed.

With respect to all matters related to testing accommodations, NEHA will only communicate with the candidate, professionals knowledgeable about the candidate’s disability or impairment, and the candidate’s authorized representative (if applicable).

 

Credential Maintenance

Once you have obtained the CP-FS credential you must maintain it. To keep your credential in good standing you must: 

1.    Earn a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education every two years; and

2.    Submit renewal fees for your credential every two years  ($130.00 members; $345.00 non-members).

 

Credentialing Handbook

It is strongly recommended that you read NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook: Guide to Policies and Procedures for NEHA’s Credentialing Programs. This handbook  outlines all the policies you are expected to follow by being a NEHA credential holder. The handbook also outlines in further detail the procedures for applying for a credential, submitting continuing education, and maintaining your credential.

If you would like to request a hardcopy of NEHA’s Credentialing Handbook, please contact the Credentialing Department at (303) 756-9090 ext. 310, or email credentialing@neha.org.