The field of food science is constantly evolving. Certified Food Scientists should broaden and deepen their understanding of the field through professional development activities. A recertification cycle occurs 5 years from the date of certification.  There is an expectation that certificants will complete 75 contact hours (CH) over 5 years.  Each contact hour equals one hour of instruction. Please see the Fee Schedule & Application Deadlines section of the candidate handbook for current recertification maintenance fees.

What do certificants need to provide at time of recertification?

Certificants should provide the IFSCC with the following information for each CH activity:
  • Proof of attendance (i.e. certificate of completion, attendee list, letter from instructor)
  • Proof of contact hours (i.e. short course program/agenda)
  • Description of the activity
  • Activity sponsoring organization and contact information
  • Date activity was completed
  • An indication of the content domain(s) the activity supports

The IFSCC reserves the right to conduct random and triggered audits of recertification documents and will disallow recertification when instances of fraud are discovered.

How is a professional development activity defined?

According to the IFSCC, professional development is an activity:

  • Where the certificant is the learner or is preparing materials for formal instruction or presentation
  • That is related to food science or technology and addresses domains within the certification examination content outline
  • That leads to attainment of new knowledge and/or skills, or the enrichment of current knowledge and skills
  • Where the certificant holds responsibility for determining that the professional development activity is appropriate, relevant, and meaningful to his/her growth in the field of food science
  • For which the certificant's attendance can be documented by a third party such as an employer, educational institution, or sponsoring organization.

Prior approval of activities by the IFSCC is not required. Certificants are encouraged to explore sub-disciplines of food science that are outside of the certificants’ primary food science expertise. An alternative to professional development activities is taking the certification exam again within 5 years of the initial certification.  An additional fee will apply in such circumstances.

Accepted Recertification Activities

Activities will generally be acceptable if you determine that they contribute to your professional development and will lead to acquiring and enhancing food science skills and knowledge. Following is a guide that details different recertification activities and the number of CH that may be attributed to these activities during a given 5-year recertification cycle.

Activity Type

Maximum CH Per Day/Notes 

Maximum CH Per 5 Year Cycle 

Employer in-house activities such as short courses or technical workshops 

Maximum of 8 CH per day

Maximum of 16 CH per 5 years

Formal training sessions sponsored by manufacturers of equipment or ingredients, or food science-related service providers

Maximum of 8 CH per day

Maximum of 16 CH per 5 years

Continuing education activities such as seminars and conferences, including poster sessions, offered by professional associations, university scientific symposia, and formal online, non-credit courses offered through a university (i.e. sensory evaluation, food law, HACCP)

Maximum of 8 CH per day

No max

Serving as speaker in symposia and technical sessions at regional, national or international scientific conferences

2 CH per symposia that is instructed

Maximum of 10 CH per 5 years

Research activities as a sole/co-investigator leading to peer-reviewed outcomes such as publications and presentations

20 CH per study for sole investigator, 10 CH per study for co-investigator

Maximum of 20 CH per 5 years

Teaching courses/workshops

2 CH per course instructed

Maximum 10 CH per 5 years

Authoring books, chapters, or articles

Maximum 10 CH per article, chapter or book

Maximum of 20 CH per 5 years

Self-directed study

Maximum of 8 CH per day

Maximum of 16 CH per 5 years

Formal college or university course work at any level (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral) offered by regionally/globally accredited programs in food science or technology, or closely related fields (nutrition, culinary arts, engineering, management, statistics). Courses may be taken by distance education. Official transcripts are required for all college/university coursework.

15 CH per earned semester credit
14 CH per earned trimester credit
10 CH per earned quarter credit

Maximum of 25 CH per 5 years

What recertification activities are generally not accepted?

Examples of activities that generally will not be accepted as CH:

  • Attending committee or board meetings, serving on leadership committees, volunteer activities, etc.
  • Association membership and leadership activities, including those of IFT
  • Business meetings
  • Expositions at conferences
  • Supervision of subordinates including interns
  • Curriculum development

CFS Recertification Policy and Tracking Form (Word)

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