Published on 05/25/23

New course teaches peanut processors fundamentals of food safety plans

By Allison Floyd

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, working with one of the leading experts in food safety training, has published a free online course to help small-scale food manufacturers – particularly those who make peanut products – create structured food safety plans.

The course “Food Safety” is available at the Peanut Innovation Lab’s Groundnut Academy

Steve Calhoun, an expert instructor in food safety planning, created the content for the course under an agreement with the American Peanut Council.

“The Groundnut Academy is a comprehensive and carefully-designed educational program that guides participants through the production, processing and safe consumption of groundnuts,” said Richard Owen, the President and CEO of the APC. “Geared toward international learners, the concepts are universally accepted best practices. The American Peanut Council is pleased to be a partner in producing and distributing the academy modules.”

The Food Safety course at the Groundnut Academy is designed to give processors of different size operations – from individuals just starting out to larger scale factories – a foundation in the fundamentals of creating and following a food safety plan. (Photo by Zute Lightfoot for Project Peanut Butter)


The course is based on principles in the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) process, a well-known international standard program for food safety, along with components of the U.S. Preventive Controls for Human Food program.

The course is currently available in English and Spanish and will soon be available in French and Portuguese. As with other Groundnut Academy courses, learners can take the lessons at their own pace, complete quizzes to test their knowledge and receive a certificate of completion after passing a final exam. The course also allows learners to print blank checklists to help them create a food safety plan of their own.

Since its inception in 2021, the Groundnut Academy has drawn 168 learners from 37 countries. The first two courses about peanut agronomy and aflatoxin are presented in English, French and Portuguese and used for group training in various countries. With the most recent food safety course, the lab is making the earlier courses available in Spanish, as well.

“Much of the Peanut Innovation Lab’s research is focused on creating healthy peanut plants in the field, but ultimately, we are striving to get more healthy peanuts and peanut products to consumers,” said Dave Hoisington, director of the Peanut Innovation Lab. “So, we also want to cultivate safe practices with peanut processors. By giving those professionals knowledge, we can increase the supply of healthy, peanut-based foods on the market.

“We hope that this course is useful to the small- and medium-sized entrepreneurial business owners who are feeding people and want to guarantee the safety of their products while increasing their profits.”

Allison Floyd is the PR coordinator for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, which is headquartered at UGA.

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