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Process Authority

We offer a Preserved Food Process Evaluation for food processors to offer a scientific evaluation and opinion regarding the appropriateness and safety of a food preservation process. Food products that are likely to support the growth of harmful microorganisms if not properly preserved are candidates for evaluation.

Request Evaluation

Please follow the steps below to submit your samples:

  1. Product Samples. 6 samples of each food product being tested, preferably from separate production batches. All samples should be packaged as for sale in the actual retail packaging. The samples for testing should be packed in containers holding at least 4 ounces or more of product.
  2. Product Formula. Complete the Recipe Submission Form - PDF or Recipe Submission Form - Microsoft Word to provide a list of the ingredients used to make a batch of product and the amount by weight of each ingredient used. Amounts listed by volume instead of weight, i.e. cups, tablespoons, will not be accepted and could cause a delay.
  3. Product Processing Description. Complete the Product Production Process Form - PDF or Product Production Process Form - Microsoft Word to provide a description of your current or intended techniques for formulating and processing your food product. 
  4. Sample Submission Form. Complete the Sample Submission Form - PDF or Sample Submission Form - Microsoft Word and mail to:

Process Authority
Oklahoma State University
148 FAPC
Stillwater, OK 74078


All steps must be completed before process evaluation can be performed, and process authority letters will not be sent until payent is received. General turnaround time is 6-8 weeks per submission, depending on how many samples are currently in the queue. Please note sometimes the process can take longer as holidays and campus closures occur. Process evaluation is completed on a first-come, first-serve basis.


$350 - In-state residents (Oklahoma)

$700 - Out-of-state residents

What is a Process Authority Letter?

A Process Authority Letter gives the results of laboratory testing and presents an opinion regarding the safety and appropriateness of the food product’s preservation process. It serves to document the review of a preservation process by a Recognized Process Authority. Such a letter may be required or requested by regulatory agencies.

When is a Process Authority Letter required?

Per federal canned food regulations 21 CFR Part 113, 21 CFR Part 114, and 9CFR Part 431, all acidified and low acid canned foods are required to have a thermal (cook) process established by a recognized Process Authority. This is typically done in the form of a Process Authority Letter.

When is a Process Authority Letter not required?

If a canned food has a pH below 4.6 and does not contain a significant proportion of any low-acid ingredient, or if a canned food is too dry to support the growth of disease-causing bacteria (i.e. has a water activity less than 0.85), then by regulation no Process Authority letter is required.

When are the benefits of having a Process Authority Letter on file for canned products that may not be required by regulation?

  1. Determining the regulatory status of a canned food product may be challenging for certain products. A Process Authority Letter provides independent, expert, third-party documentation concerning the appropriate regulatory category for a product. Such documentation may assist both manufacturers and inspectors/auditors to know what production records, process filings, etc. are appropriate for a given product. Having this information can avoid mistakes that may lead to regulatory non-compliance, product recalls, and/or increased liability.
  2. All food manufacturers who are not exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and who use thermal (cook) processes to control potential food safety hazards such a disease-causing bacteria are required per the Preventive Controls for Human Foods rule to have validation documents for those thermal processes. One way to obtain this this validation for formulated acid canned foods is by having the product tested and receiving a Process Authority Letter which contains processing recommendations.


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