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Retail Food Safety Association Collaboration Cooperative Agreement Program

What is the Retail Food Safety Association Collaboration Cooperative Agreement Program?

The intended outcome of this cooperative agreement is leveraging the resources and strengths of national retail food safety associations to collaboratively advance retail food protection and reduce foodborne illness. The resulting cooperative agreements will provide additional support to advance retail food safety by reviewing existing research on the effectiveness of intervention strategies designed to reduce foodborne illness risk factors, conducting research to assess the current use of intervention strategies by state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) retail food regulatory programs and industry, developing outreach programs to promote use of effective intervention strategies and other best practices, promoting implementation and full conformance of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) by SLTT jurisdictions, supporting full adoption of the most recent FDA Food Code, and improving foodborne illness outbreak response.

What are its goals?

  • Identify, assess, and promote implementation of effective intervention strategies. Intervention strategies are defined as a comprehensive set of activities, initiatives, or specific tools implemented on the part of industry and/or regulators that are designed to bring about immediate and/or long-term control of foodborne illness risk factors. Intervention strategies that have undergone field testing to prove effectiveness in changing long-term behavior of food employees are ideal for marketing to SLTT/industry partners.
  • Develop and implement toolkits and subsequent strategies to promote full, complete adoption of the most recent FDA Food Code by SLTT retail food regulatory programs.
  • Assess application of risk-based inspection methods by SLTT regulatory jurisdictions, identify barriers preventing application of risk-based inspection methods, and coordinate with the FDA to implement strategies to overcome the barriers.
  • Build upon the FDA’s VNRFRPS technical assistance strategy to provide a “multiplier effect” to promote participation and implementation of the VNRFRPS by SLTTs.
  • Develop and promote strategies to improve active managerial control at the retail level. Active managerial control means the purposeful incorporation of specific actions or procedures by industry management into the operation of their business to attain control over foodborne illness risk factors. It embodies a preventive rather than reactive approach to food safety through a continuous system of monitoring and verification. 
  • Identify and issue joint recommendations with the FDA on emerging retail food safety issues and coordinate with the FDA to implement the recommendations, as appropriate.
  • Implement strategies to promote availability and usage of best practices, tool kits, research, and other information sharing among retail food safety stakeholders.
  • Develop and implement training, outreach, educational materials and opportunities, and other innovative approaches to assist SLTT regulatory jurisdictions with reducing the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in food establishments and responding more effectively to foodborne illness outbreaks.
  • Develop and implement effective communication strategies to advance retail food safety initiatives across all stakeholders.
  • Develop and promote tools that can be used nationally to meet objectives above.

Who are the current awardees?

  • The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) have been awarded this cooperative agreement.
  • Over $1.72M in funding under this cooperative agreement program.  

Who can I contact for more information?

Specific questions on this program can be directed to the appropriate Office of Partnerships' contact within the Division of Partnership Investments and Agreements. Please visit the Office of Partnerships Contacts webpage to obtain a downloaded version of the staffing roster.

You can also find contact information and more on the funding opportunity announcement.

Please visit the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative's website for more information.

General questions can be directed to the Office of Partnerships' general mailbox: op.feedback@fda.hhs.gov.

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