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UC Food Safety
University of California
UC Food Safety

Better Process Control School Online

6/26/17:  The UC Davis Better Process Control School Online (Online BPCS) is closed to new registrations at this point in time, due to technology changes with our site.

There are many options for completing the BPCS.  The course is offered in person across the country throughout the year and here at UC Davis each February (In-Person course). In addition, we are now offering a “blended” online/in-person Acidified Foods Manufacturing School for those who need the content for acidified foods but not low acid foods (Acidified Foods Manufacturing School). We recommend you consider this option if you are manufacturing acidified low acid foods.  

If you are looking for an all-online course, you may want to consider:   University of Tennessee's BPCS Online course.  To our knowledge, this is now the only all online BPCS course currently offered.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

The BPCS was established primarily for operating supervisors, the individual who is in the plant or kitchen at the time a thermally preserved food product is packed and processed. The school is particularly intended for operators or operating supervisors involved in production of thermally processed low acid and acidified foods.  Production of these preserved foods is covered by FDA and USDA regulations.  This course and its instructors are approved by the FDA and USDA.  (More information on Acidified Foods.)

Please email our course staff at for all questions.  (530) 752-5901 phone contact (email is preferred.)

How the Course Works 

  1. Register and pay by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, or AmEx only- no Discover cards, sorry) or check.  Price is $400 per person.
  2. We mail you a textbook via FedEx Ground or US Postal Mail for P.O. Boxes.
  3. When you get the textbook, contact us for your SmartSite account creation/login information.  A reminder to do this is mailed out with the book.
  4. Once you've created your account on SmartSite and we've activated it and you've logged in, you will be watching each video module, followed by taking each chapter test.  Grades are scored immediately afterwards in the "Gradebook2" link in SmartSite.
  5. You have 3 months from your account creation date to finish all the tests that you need.
  6. Please Email us when you've finished all the chapters that you need, and we will generate a certificate of completion listing those chapters, and send it first by PDF and later by postal mail.
  7. If your 3-month deadline has passed and you are still interested in finishing the course, please contact us at  

Multiple registrants on one check (at $400 per person) are fine; please email us the information for the individuals if two or more.  Checks must be made out to The Regents of the University of California.  The remittance address is on the online registration form - you need do only the first page of the form if you are paying by check.  For wire transfers (international registrants), please contact me so I can send you transfer information. 

If you are paying with a credit card, simply complete the whole payment process online at the link above at top of page.  You must have your own email account to register - whether it is a company email address or a personal one.  Email address cannot be shared between two or more people taking the course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

There are 16 chapters covered, listed below.   

The mandatory number of chapters for the "Acidified Foods Only" course (most small processors)  is 8 chapters out of the 16.

A passing grade is 70% for all exams; you are given the option of two re-takes per chapter if you do not pass the first time.  

Ch. 2 - Microbiology of Thermally Processed Foods 
Ch. 3 - Acidified Foods - You MUST take IF your processing facility relies on acidification as a means of ensuring commercial sterility
Ch. 4 - Principles of Thermal Processing
Ch. 5 - Food Plant Sanitation
Ch. 6 - Food Container Handling
Ch. 7 - Records for Product Protection

Ch. 8 - Process Room instrumentation, Equipment and Operation 
Ch. 9 -  Still Retorts - Pressure processing in Steam
Ch. 10 - Still Retorts - Pressure processing with Overpressure 
Ch. 11 - Hydrostatic Retorts - Continuous Container Handling
Ch. 12 - Agitating Retorts - Continuous Container Handling 
Ch. 13 - Agitating Retorts - Discontinuous Container Handling 
Ch. 14 - Aseptic Processing and Packaging Systems
Ch. 15 - Closures for Metal Containers 
Ch. 16 - Closures for Glass Containers 
Ch. 17 - Closures for Semirigid and Flexible Containers

The un-bolded chapters are not mandatory (unless you work with those specific retorts), but they are suggested because you may work in facilities that utilize these retorts or techniques sometime in the future.  For this reason, we encourage everyone attending the BPCS to study all the chapters presented and take all of the exams.

Please email Zann Gates and our other course staff at for all questions.  (530) 752-5901 phone contact (email is preferred.)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Page

Site Creation date 6/1/2009
Webmaster for site:  Zann Gates

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