Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Food Program Standards MSDH- Office of Food Protection RFA-FD-12-012 The Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Food Protection (MSDH FP), with the collaboration of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will advance efforts for a nationally integrated food safety system through conformance with and the advancement of the Retail Food Program Standards (VNRFRPS). The ultimate goal is to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of illnesses and deaths from foods produced at the retail level, through innovative approaches to gaining active managerial control. Key project leaders will be MSDH Food Program Director and Food Program Specialists. Evaluation of equipment and training needs will be through collaboration with FDA Regional partners and ongoing audits of field staff and records. Concentration will be on identification of foodborne illness risk-factors, innovative intervention strategies and building public confidence in food protection programs by enhancing uniformity within and between regulatory agencies. The diverse population of retail food facilities in Mississippi creates numerous impediments to communication with the food service industry. Utilizing the training, equipment and supplies provided through this funding opportunity, MSDH will be able to further develop and sustain its Retail Food Program and the VNRFRPS. Objectives for this opportunity are as follows: Reduce the incidence of foodborne illness occurrences at retail food facilities Provide trainings using innovative methods and strategies, on risk-factor identification and intervention strategies Provide tools to field inspectors for use in industry training and community outreach for improved industry and consumer confidence Provide retail food inspectors with appropriate tools to accurately identify risk-factors Development of a sustainable infrastructure for continued retail food safety Increase compliance with VNRFRPS Methods for achieving these goals involve enhancing staff development for the retail food inspectors (Standard #2). Specifically, identifying out-of-control risk factors and appropriate innovative intervention strategies, and uniform processes and procedures, will be the priority (standard 4). This will also include evaluating policies and procedures, and providing staff with the equipment and supplies (Standard #8) they need to effectively reduce the risk of retail foodborne illness outbreaks through active managerial control. Outreach to industry and the community (Standard #7) will also play an integral part of this plan through presentations and after-action findings reports.
Funding provided for the VNRFRPS will assist in advancing the efforts of MSDH Office of Food Protection in achieving conformance with these Standards. By supplying field staff with the equipment, supplies and training they need to perform uniform operations, they will be more able to focus on risk factors known to contribute to foodborne illness and to achieve active managerial control.