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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Food

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Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards - January 2011 - Standard 8

Program Support and Resources

This standard applies to the program resources (budget, staff, equipment, etc.) necessary to support an inspection and surveillance system that is designed to reduce risk factors and other factors known to contribute to foodborne illness.

Requirement Summary

The program provides funding, staff and equipment necessary to accomplish compliance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.

Description of Requirement

The program budget provides the necessary resources to develop and maintain a retail food safety program that meets the following criteria:

  1. Staffing Level

    A staffing level of one full-time equivalent (FTE) devoted to food for every 280 – 320 inspections performed*. Inspections for purposes of this calculation include routine inspections, re-inspections, complaint investigations, outbreak investigations, compliance follow-up inspections, risk assessment reviews, process reviews, variance process reviews and other direct establishment contact time such as on-site training.

    A process should exist for the regulated food establishments to be grouped into at least three categories based on food safety risk (See Standard 3). The number of inspections assigned per FTE should be adjusted within the 280 – 320 range depending upon the composition of low- to high –risk establishments in the assigned inventory. When an FTE is divided between program areas, the total number of food inspections planned for that FTE should be adjusted to compensate for the additional training time required to maintain competency in multiple program areas. An adjustment of planned inspections per FTE should also occur when food establishments are geographically dispersed due to increased travel time.

  2. Inspection Equipment

    Inspection equipment of each inspector to include head covers, thermocouples, flashlights, sanitization test kits, heat sensitive tapes or maximum registering thermometers, necessary forms and administrative materials. The following equipment must be available for use by inspectors when needed: computers, cameras, black lights, light meters, pH meters, foodborne illness investigation kits, sample collection kits, data loggers and cell phones.

  3. Administrative Program Support

    Equipment for administrative staff to include computers, software and/or items necessary to support the record keeping system utilized by the program. A system is in place to collect, analyze, retain and report pertinent information.

  4. Regulatory Foundation

    Staff and resources to adopt a sound, science-based regulatory foundation for the public health program and the uniform regulation of industry required in Standard No. 1.

  5. Trained Regulatory Staff

    Training and training documentation for all regulatory staff to meet the level specified in Standard No. 2.

  6. Insspection Program Based on HACCP Principles

    Staff to meet all of the requirements in Standard No. 3, inspection based on HACCP principles.

  7. Uniform Inspection Program

    Administrative and supervisory staff to administer and monitor a uniform inspection program based on HACCP principles that meet Standards No. 3 and 4.

  8. Foodborne Illness and Food Defense Preparedness & Response

    Staff and resources to maintain a foodborne illness investigation and response system that meets Standard No. 5.

  9. Compliance & Enforcement

    A program that demonstrates follow-though on all compliance and enforcement actions initiated according to the written step-by-step procedures required in Standard No. 6.

  10. Industry & Community Relations

    An industry and consumer relations program as specified in Standard No. 7.

  11. Program Assessment

    Sufficient staff and resources to conduct regular program self-assessment and risk factor surveys as specified in Standard No. 9.

  12. Accredited Laboratory

    Funds to provide access to accredited laboratory resources in support of the program as specified under these nine Standards.

The essential program elements required to demonstrate compliance with this standard are:

  1. Full-time equivalent (FTE) personnel to inspections accomplished ratio as described in section 1.
  2. Inspection equipment assigned or available as described in section 2.
  3. Equipment and/or supplies required for administering the program as described in Section 3.
  4. A full and accurate completion of Appendix H for Standards 1-7 and Standard 9 whether or not those standards are met.

Outcome

The desired outcome of this standard is that resources are available to support a risk-based retail food safety program designed to reduce the risk factors known to contribute to foodborne illness.

Documentation

The quality records needed for this standard include:

  1. Documentation of FTE to inspections ratio,
  2. Inventory of assigned and available inspection equipment,
  3. Documentation and demonstration of records system and adequacy of support,
  4. The completed Appendix H

[*NOTE:  An average workload figure of 150 establishments per FTE with two inspections per year was originally recommended in the 1976 Food Service Sanitation Manual, the standard originating from a book entitled, “Administration of Community Health Services.”  Annex 4 of the Code since 1993 has included a recommendation that 8 to 10 hours be allocated for each establishment per year to include all the activities reflected here in the definition of an inspection.  The range of 280 – 320 broadly defined inspections per FTE is consistent with these previous recommendations.  A measure of resources defined as inspections per FTE rather than establishments per FTE allows for the same unit of measure to be used for any jurisdiction regardless of the frequency of routine inspections conducted among the various priority categories.]