U.S – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published the 2022 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (“Retail Program Standards”) to feature the key elements of an effective retail food regulatory program for state, local, tribal, and territorial regulatory agencies.

The Retail Program Standards (VNRFRPS) provide recommendations for designing and managing retail food regulatory programs  which will help regulatory jurisdictions (or other responsible organizations) facilitate more effective inspections, implement foodborne illness prevention strategies, and identify program areas in need of improvement.

It incorporates changes based on recommendations made during the Conference for Food Protection 2020 Biennial Meeting.

Some of the key changes include reformatted curriculum forms and worksheets, and the inclusion of alternative sampling methods

Curriculum for Retail Food Safety Inspection Officers (FSIO) has been reformatted into a table with curriculum topics as headers, followed by a table with the course title in one column and the course numbers in another column.

FD252 Allergen Management has been replaced with B2 Allergens to allow jurisdictions an alternative selection for FSIO’s to complete coursework toward achieving conformance with Standard 2 Trained Regulatory Staff.

The Trained Regulatory Staff standard has also been amended to increase the timeframe for completion of Steps 1 – 4 from 18 months to 24 months. This will allow FSIO’s an additional 6 months to complete Steps 1-4 of the five-step training and standardization process.

Further, Standard 6 Compliance and Enforcement was amended to allow jurisdictions to assess the effectiveness of their compliance and enforcement program using an alternative sampling method that provides the same level of statistical confidence as the currently prescribed method in the VNRFRPS Standard 6.

The change increases the flexibility for jurisdictions seeking conformance with VNRFRPS Standard 6.

FDA sought the input from federal, state, and local regulatory officials, as well as industry, trade associations, academia, and consumers while developing the standards.

The agency is urging jurisdictions to take part in the Retail Program Standards.

“If a jurisdiction enrolls, it can also apply for federal funding to support its efforts, but enrollment is not required to use the worksheets and materials. Enrollment information can be downloaded on FDA.gov or by contacting an FDA Retail Food Specialist directly using the Directory of FDA Retail Food Specialists,” FDA said.

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