FDA earlier this month published the 2013 Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards, as well as a listing of the jurisdictions enrolled in the program. The Retail Program Standards are intended to help reduce foodborne illnesses associated with retail food and foodservice establishments by promoting continuous improvement of food safety inspection programs.
The Retail Program Standards serve as a guide for retail food managers in state, local, tribal, and territorial retail food regulatory agencies. Specifically, the standards are intended to promote:
- Adoption of science-based model regulations (e.g., the FDA Food Code);
- Improvements in staff training and increased program resources;
- Implementation of risk-based inspection programs based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles;
- Development and implementation of outbreak and food defense surveillance and response plans; and
- Enhanced communication and collaboration with industry and consumers.
The 2013 edition of the Retail Program Standards incorporates changes meant to improve the presentation and usability of the documents, including:
- Addition of an administrative procedures document to more clearly explain the process for enrolling in the Retail Program Standards and maintaining enrollment;
- Addition of criteria for enrolled jurisdictions to implement a targeted intervention strategy to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors, and assess the effectiveness of the targeted intervention strategy;
- Conversion of the FDA National Registry Report form (Form FDA 3519) and the Permission to Publish in National Registry form (Form FDA 3520) to PDF format to enable electronic completion and submission via email;
- Conversion of forms and worksheets to PDF format to enable electronic completion; and
- Revisions to the FDA’s Retail Program Standards website so that all forms and worksheets can be accessed and downloaded online.
As the science of food safety evolves, FDA works closely with stakeholders through the Conference for Food Protection to periodically review and update the Retail Program Standards.