This project aims to provide greater statewide conformance to the FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) for both the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) retail food regulatory program and those of the 11 county environmental health departments which are currently enrolled.. ADHS has two key objectives in year one. To conduct a statewide baseline needs assessment of the counties'current progress and future plans to meet the VNRFRPS and to solidify and strengthen its own administrative program support and fill program resource assessment needs Years 2 - 5 place greater emphasis on flexible but purposeful statewide and regional collaboration. Counties will be able to select various options individually and collectively for program success. Special emphasis for county support will include Standard 2, (Trained Regulatory Staff), Standard 7 (Industry and Community Relations) and Standard 8, (Program Support and Resources). The completion of other Standards, such as 3, 4, 6, and 9 which are more administrative in nature, may require the initiation of short-term workgroups or teams. Project resources will be approached globally throughout the project period for meeting Standard 5, Foodborne Illness and Food Defense Preparedness and Response. Food sampling kits will be purchased for ADHS and the Arizona county environmental health departments to utilize in a real outbreak or a jurisdictional exercise. Reagents and food testing kits will be purchased to ensure the laboratory is poised to maintain capacity to respond to a foodborne illness outbreak investigation.
This statewide project aims to improve public health by promoting a greater emphasis on: 1) collectively developing innovative approaches to strengthen State and local retail food regulatory program operations, 2) link foodborne illness risk factor analyses data to industry outreach efforts and 3) prepare for and respond to foodborne outbreaks. It also supports the intent of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the vision of the FDA's retail food safety initiative.