Partners in a 3-A sanitary standards program are holding discussions regarding the development of a new third-party accreditation process for 3-A (TPA) symbol authorization.

The 3-A Symbol Administrative Council, the International Association of Food Industry Suppliers (IAFIS), the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP), and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) have met four times this year, and plan to meet in April and August to accept input from interested parties.

The 55-year-old 3-A Program formulates standards and practices for the sanitary design, fabrication, installation and cleanability of dairy and food equipment or systems used to handle, process and package consumable products where a high degree of sanitation is required.

Under the current self-certification process, the 3-A Symbol Council accepts applications from equipment manufacturers and fabricators for authorization to display the registered 3-A symbol on their products. An ongoing concern for a safe food supply prompted 3-A participants to consider additional ways to ensure that equipment design lends itself to producing a safe product.

Five working groups have been created to move the TPA project forward. Four of those groups will develop guidelines regarding auditor qualifications, the auditing process, used/ modified equipment issues and an administrative system for handling authorizations. The remaining group will manage ongoing education and communication needs related to the change to a TPA system.

Input on this project from food industry suppliers, food processors and manufacturers is welcome. Visiting the 3-A website at