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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

For Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials

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Annex 5 - National Food Specialist Team FY'04 Work Plan

Explanation of Work Plan Initiatives
In Order of Priority

National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards
Includes technical assistance and consultation to 180 State and local jurisdictions performing self-assessments and developing strategic work plans using the Program Standards as the foundation for enhancing the effectiveness of their retail food program.

Risk Factor Data Collection Project 2004
Data on the occurrence of CDC-identified risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness were collected on a nation-wide basis in 1998-1999 forming a baseline against which to compare future data. In 2003, Specialists began collecting inspection data again to analyze for trends in the occurrence of these factors as a performance indicator for the national goal of reducing risk factors by 25 percent for Healthy People 2010. Approximately one quarter of the field work for data collection will continue into the first quarter of ’04 until all the selected sample inspections are complete.

Risk Factor Data Analysis and Report Writing
A major portion of the work on the Data Collection Project for 2004 is the data analysis and preparation of a written report of the results. Key specialists involved in the preparation for the baseline study will assist CFSAN personnel in developing a data set that will be compared with the data previously collected in 1998-1999 and collaborate on a written report that conveys an accurate interpretation of the data that will be understandable to the lay public as well as industry representatives and regulators.

CFP Committee Work, Position Papers, and Annual Meeting
Participation as members of the Conference Committees charged with the responsibility for developing consensus recommendations on significant retail food safety issues. These recommendations are submitted to the Conference for deliberation. Committees are comprised of representative from federal, state, local and tribal regulatory agencies, industry, academia and consumer groups. The Conference for Food Protection holds an annual meeting in 2004. Prior to the Conference, FDA receives the submitted issues that will be considered at the meeting. There is a serious burden upon FDA to consider the issues as submitted and to formulate agency-approved scientific and policy positions that will be communicated at the meeting.

Standardizations
Certification of regulatory retail food inspection/training officers in the interpretation and application of FDA’s Food Code as well as behavioral aspects of inspections. A delay in the development of the Interstate Travel Program standardization process necessitates continued support form the Retail Food Specialists for one additional year. In addition, CDC has requested that FDA standardize one person in Atlanta and HIS has requested the same for one person in Albuquerque.

Re-standardizations
Re-certification every three years of regulatory retail food inspection/training officers, including a one-time re-standardization cycle for the Interstate Travel Program personnel, in the interpretation and application of FDA’s Food Code well as behavioral aspects of inspections.

Team Leaders – Steering Committee, National Retail Food Team
Includes retail food program planning, development and coordination responsibilities assigned to the two Specialists selected as Leaders of the National Retail Food Specialists’ Team and their participation as representatives for ORA field activities on the National Retail Food Team Steering Committee. Specialists Food Team election in October 2003 will determine where one Team Leader position will reside.

National Team Work Groups
Includes Specialist initiatives related to Retail Food Program development of agency procedures, guidance documents, standards, and initiatives of national importance, etc. Areas addressed within working groups include the National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards; Standardization Procedures; Pre-standardization Workshops; HACCP at Retail; Specialists’ Certification, 2005 Food Code and other topics as identified by the Retail Food Program Steering Committee.

National Projects at Retail
Time is allotted in the Retail Food Protection Work Plan for ORA to accommodate CFSAN priority assignments that are adjusted annually in response to National food safety needs. It is anticipated that in fiscal year 2004 the following assignments will be issued requiring field work:

  • Food Security
    Educational activities and/or data collection initiatives related to assessing and enhancing retail awareness of, and preparedness for, intentional or incidental contamination of food as a result of foreign or domestic terrorists activities against the citizens of the United States.
  • Egg Safety
    Educational activities and/or data collection initiatives related to assessing and enhancing retail compliance with the Egg Safety Rule at the retail level for pathogen control. To allow for the most effective use of limited resources, the intent is to seamlessly integrate this initiative into all asterisked (*) program activities.

Regional Seminars
Includes all preparation work, coordination and organization, as well as presentations delivered in conjunction with the annual Regional Retail Food Seminars.

Training Workshops Planned
Includes training workshops coordinated and delivered primarily by the Specialists, including but not limited to Food Code courses; pre-standardization workshops; HACCP workshops, and other identified training topics.

Technical Assistance
Includes interpretations and consultation on Food Code and food safety issues to jurisdictions; presentations delivered to professional and trade associations; assistance to DHRD in the coordination of State Training courses, liaison and other work with State Food Safety Task Forces, etc.