For Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Officials
Retail Food Protection Program
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FDA's Retail Food Protection Program provides assistance to the more than 2,300 state and local government agencies that regulate the retail food industry nationally. The primary objective of the program is to prevent foodborne illness at the retail level of the food industry by directing activities toward promotion of effective state and local regulatory programs. These agencies inspect and regulate more than 1,000,000 food establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, health facilities and nursing homes, schools, correctional facilities, temporary event food service, food vending facilities, etc.). Total national food service and grocery industry sales each rank in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually. It is also estimated that the American public now consumes more than 50% of their meals outside the home. Agencies regulating this multi-billion dollar industry look to the Regional Food Specialists for training, technical assistance, and to serve as a liaison not only between FDA and the states but with industry as well.
Questions regarding the Retail Food Program and how DFSR can assist you? Contact Linda Collins.
State, local, territorial, and tribal agencies have the main responsibility for inspecting and licensing food establishments and enforcing regulations. Working closely with these agencies is the National Retail Food Team, which includes FDA food safety experts, trainers, and Retail Food Specialists.
- Developing, interpreting, and promoting the FDA Food Code and Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards
- Giving food safety guidance and training to state and local authorities and industry
- Identifying research needs to address emerging food safety concerns
- Ensuring food safety at national special security events and in disaster areas
Through various initiatives, involvements and compliance programs, the Food Specialists have an impact on the public health across the country that far exceeds their direct involvement. FDA’s Retail Food Program influences the programs of hundreds of agencies and thousands state and local employees. The Cooperative Programs are truly among only a few ‘multiplier’ programs within FDA, whose impact spread far beyond their initial contact point. The Specialists are committed to maximizing the cooperative programs effort by leveraging our limited resources to increase the effectiveness of state and local regulatory programs to protect the public health.
- Place greater emphasis on food safety at the point of retail sale;
- Promote food safety uniformity, mutual respect, and communication.
Retail Food Program Policy, Guidance and other Resources:
www.fda.gov/RetailFoodProtection. This webpage (maintained by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) contains numerous critical resources for the Retail Food Protection Program, including: