In its latest step to increase the safety of the American food supply, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued the 2013 Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards). 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.
The Retail Program Standards represent a key benchmark for retail food regulatory programs. Specifically, the Retail Program
- 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 Retail Program Standards serve as a guide to regulatory retail food program managers for the design and management of these programs and provide recognition for programs that meet one or more of the Standards. The Retail Program Standards assist food regulatory programs by identifying the areas that most need attention, enhancing the services they provide, and promoting the application of effective food borne illness prevention strategies.
The 2013 Edition of the Retail Program Standards incorporates changes that improve the presentation and usability of the documents.