The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, Food Protection Program (BEH/FPP) intends to strengthen its core capacity of a public health- focused approach to food safety that prioritizes prevention, strengthens surveillance and enforcement, and improves intervention and response by increasing conformance with Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS) and demonstrating improvement in its regulatory foundation, inspector training program, inspection program (including enhancement of electronic capacity), inspection audits, foodborne illness outbreaks and response, compliance and enforcement programs, industry and community relations, program resources, program assessment and laboratory support related to manufactured foods. Conformance with MFRPS will support the ability of the Massachusetts Rapid Response Team (RRT) to rapidly and effectively address foodborne illness outbreaks and will promote the continued growth and longer-term sustainability of the food safety program. BEH/FPP will seek to further enhance its capacity by developing and implementing four different Standard Enhancement Projects (SEPs.) SEP #1 will develop and test an algorithm to prioritize facility inspections by risk-category, SEP #2 will develop industry-specific facility inspection forms and protocols to address unique risk factors, SEP #3 will develop and test an algorithm to track critical violations and problem facilities, and SEP #4 will create electronic inspection forms to incorporate elements of Good Manufacturing Processes and to improve identification of conditions which may render the food injurious to health. BEH/FPP will share lessons learned with regional and national partners to leverage these projects. BEH will foster information sharing through a web-based portal, providing secure access to federal and local public health partners to improve foodborne illness prevention and response efforts, and providing public access to support academic research and to inform the general public. This proposal seeks to enhance interagency collaboration among state, federal, and local public health partners, industry and other stakeholders in order to provide a technical and operational foundation for development and maintenance of an integrated food safety system. Measures to meet these goals and objectives will be carried out within the framework of the cooperative agreement.
The cooperative agreement will strengthen interagency collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and enhance the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, Food Protection Program's (BEH/FPP's) regulatory, enforcement and environmental surveillance protection programs for manufactured food, encompassing core food safety program elements of prevention, intervention and response. These goals will be met by achieving conformance with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS), and by developing and implementing four Standard Enhancement Projects (SEPs) to create an updated risk-assessment and categorization protocol to use critical and chronic violation tracking in addition to industry-specific classification criteria to rank facilities by risk. The SEPs will contribute to the continuous improvement of the MFRPS program and can be shared and duplicated to further promote a strong, national, fully integrated food safety system to better protect the health of the public.