Food

FDA Issues 2015 Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards

Constituent Update


September 11, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued today the 2015 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards) that define the key elements of an effective retail food regulatory program for state, local, tribal, and territorial food regulatory agencies.

The Retail Program Standards provide recommendations for designing and managing these programs and recognition for programs that show progress in implementing the Standards. They help identify program areas in need of improvement and improve inspections and foodborne illness prevention strategies.

The Retail Program Standards promote adopting science-based guidelines from the FDA Food Code to ensure a sound regulatory foundation. The Retail Program Standards also promote improving training programs to ensure local, state, tribal, and territorial staff have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities; implementing risk-based inspection programs;  and developing outbreak and food defense surveillance plans, helping ensure a systematic approach to detecting and responding to foodborne illness or food contamination.

The 2015 edition of the Retail Program Standards includes several new worksheets to help regulatory programs assess how their programs align with the 2013 FDA Food Code and evaluate the consistency and effectiveness of their compliance and enforcement activities, as well as a verification tool to help independent auditors review such self-assessments.

The FDA encourages jurisdictions to enroll in the Retail Program Standards. Enrolling in the Retail Program Standards and working to improve their program allows a jurisdiction to apply for FDA funding to further assist their efforts.  A jurisdiction can, however, use the worksheets and materials without enrolling in the Retail Program Standards.   The procedure for enrolling can be found at Administrative Procedures for Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. A complete list of jurisdictions enrolled in the Retail Program Standards is available at Listing of Jurisdictions Enrolled in the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.

The FDA’s Regional Retail Food Specialists work closely with retail food regulatory programs across the country to encourage enrollment and successful implementation of the Retail Program Standards. The Regional Retail Food Specialists and officials from FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition can answer questions about the Retail Program Standards at RetailFoodPolicyTeam@fda.hhs.gov.

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Page Last Updated: 09/11/2015
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