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Food Competent Certifying Officers

Training and Authorisation

Food Competent Certifying Officer training

Food Competent Certifying Officers (FCCOs) are required to complete online training as part of the APHA’s FCCO authorisation process. This training is delivered by the training provider, Improve International.

The qualification is Official Controls Qualification (Certifying Officer) - Food Competent Certifying Officer (OCQ(CO) – FCCO).

All new FCCO applicants will need to successfully complete the main training course and invigilated online examination before they can be authorised as an FCCO. There is no time limit for new candidates completing the course.

All FCCOs authorised prior to 30 November 2021 will have until 31 May 2022 to successfully complete the revalidation training course and invigilated online examination in order to retain their authorisation.

To register and enrol for the training

Candidates must register on the Improve Animal Health Paraprofessional website at: by using the code 21-FCCO-Reg-AP.

Once registered, the candidate or their employer needs to email the APHA Official Veterinarian (OV) team at to let them know that they have registered and require access to the FCCO course.

The APHA OV team will provide details by email to enable the candidate to enrol on the relevant course – the revalidation course for FCCOs who are already authorised and the main course for new candidates wishing to become FCCOs.

All  FCCOs authorised prior to 30 November 2021 must enrol for the revalidation training by 31 March 2022.

FCCO Authorisation

Administration of FCCO authorisations is managed centrally by APHA’s OV team.

For new candidates, the APHA OV team will be notified automatically by Improve International once the training is successfully completed and will grant authorisation for FCCO status. This can take up to ten working days.

Candidates must wait for confirmation of this authorisation by email and also receipt of an official stamp by post prior to carrying out any FCCO work. For FCCOs who are already authorised, the authorisation will continue uninterrupted, providing that the revalidation training is completed by the deadline.


Revalidation of the FCCO training will be required every four years for authorisation to be continued.

Failure to revalidate by the deadline will result in suspension of the authorisation. However, the qualification can be revalidated at any time during the six-month period immediately following the deadline in order to have the authorisation reinstated.

If the qualification is not revalidated within the six-month period, the authorisation will expire and FCCOs will need to complete the full training course to become authorised.
For more information about the revalidation process, visit the Improve International website.

Extensions and Exceptions to the Training Requirements

There are certain circumstances where it may not be possible to complete the OCQ(CO) - FCCO revalidation within the specified deadline. It may be possible to have an extension or in some cases an exception to these requirements.

For further information about an extension or an exception from the standard processes, please see the guidance on the Requests for Extension or Exceptions from the Official Controls Qualification (OCQ) Training and Revalidation Requirements (TR588) application form. This must be used to apply to the APHA OV Team if you think you may be eligible for an extension or an exemption to the requirements.

To discuss any matters relating to your FCCO authorisation and approval contact APHA’s OV team:

Tel: 03000 200 301
Fax: 01905 768 649

County Hall
Spetchley Road

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Sam OV support

For queries about using Sam or the initial registration process please contact the Sam support desk on:

03300 416999
Email Sam support desk