The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has developed a robust framework to fully implement the federal manufactured food regulatory program standards (MFRPS). The MFRPS framework was adopted in 2008, and since that time, the Office of Environmental Health and Food Protection (OEHFP) has made significant progress in implementing these standards. The goal of this application is to strengthen and fully implement the MFRPS within Maryland, by addressing those areas that we have identified as requiring some additional resources, change in regulation, improvements in process, or enhancements of capacity.
The specific aims of the proposal are to: (1) strengthen Maryland's field inspection program through a comprehensive information and sampling management program;(2) fully implement a quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) program for MFRPS, taking advantage of QI initiatives currently underway in DHMH;(3) ensure that appropriate education and training are provided for staff, industry, and the community, with documentation;(4) evaluate the legal and regulatory underpinnings for MFRPS in Maryland, and develop strategies to address any barriers to full implementation of MFRPS in the State;and (5) implement and evaluate a Standard Enhancement Project that takes advantage of integration of innovations in information management and geographic information systems (GIS) technology being implemented in DHMH.
This proposal addresses an important part of the overall food safety infrastructure in Maryland, the production of manufactured foods. The project will strengthen Maryland's ability to regulate and evaluate food producers, and contribute to the national effort to improve and modernize food safety. In particular, it significantly strengthens the management of information related to the manufactured food regulatory program standards (MFRPS), and will give Maryland and the Food and Drug Administration new tools to better protect the public from hazards in manufactured foods.