April 27, 2007
The Food and Drug Administration's National Retail Food Team reports that more than 265 state, local and tribal governments have enrolled in FDA's Draft Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The Program Standards are designed to help reduce foodborne illness associated with retail food and foodservice establishments by promoting continuous improvement of food safety inspection programs. Enrollees include retail food regulatory programs from 45 states, the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the National Park Service, several Native American tribes, and one academic institution. A complete listing of the enrolled jurisdictions may be viewed at the Listing of Jurisdictions Enrolled in the Draft Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. FDA's Regional Retail Food Specialists continue to work closely with regulatory programs across the country to encourage enrollment and successful application of the Program Standards.
The Program Standards represent a high-level benchmark to which retail food regulatory programs should aspire. Specifically they promote:
- Adoption of science-based rules and regulations, like the FDA Food Code;
- Improvements in staff training and standardization;
- Implementation of risk-based inspection programs based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles;
- Enhanced quality assurance programs;
- Development and implementation of outbreak and food defense surveillance and response plans;
- Increases in staffing levels or program resources;
- Development and implementation of strategic plans designed to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors;
- Enhanced communication and collaboration with industry and consumers; and
- Improved accountability through the establishment of baselines on the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors that can be used to achieve measurable program outcomes.
The Draft Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards are available online.