The Voluntary National Retail Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) establish a uniform foundation for the design and management of state and local programs responsible for the regulation of retail food operations. The development and implementation of these program standards will assist state and local food safety programs to better direct their regulatory activities toward reducing foodborne illness hazards in retail food establishments. Based upon the Georgia Department of Agriculture 2011Strategic Plan and the July 10, 2012 Program Self-Assessment, program needs for the cooperative agreement application funding include: """""""" Hire a Retail Standards Manager to oversee the Retail Food Section's implementation and conformance with the VNRFRPS. """""""" Training and Standardization of the Retail Standards Manager. """""""" Retail food regulation rewrite to adopt the 2013 Food Code upon release by FDA. """""""" Standardization of retail field staff. """""""" Overhaul of the outmoded Field Inspection Manual with written operating procedures, policies, and MOUs required by the Retail Standards. """""""" Development of a quality assurance program to ensure consistent application of regulations, risk-based inspection frequencies, and the proper use of compliance/enforcement strategies;these are appropriate based upon the inspection findings. The Georgia Department of Agriculture has already made marked improvements to the Manufactured Food inspection program through our involvement with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards. If funded under this cooperative agreement application, the Department expects to make significant advances in conformance with the VNRFRPS, achieving program uniformity;and an enhanced focus on the risk factors that cause and contribute to foodborne illness.
The overall goal of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) is to provide a system for the operation and management of a retail food regulatory program focused on the reduction of risk factors known to cause or contribute to foodborne illness and to the promotion of active managerial control of these risk factors. Georgia will continue to strive toward full conformance with the VNRFRPS as we build capacity in a food safety program focused on public health, while working in collaboration with FDA and other stakeholders as part of an Integrated Food Safety System.