VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - FOOD AND LODGING PROGRAM Advancing Conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards Vermont is a small New England state with a population of approximately 620,000 people. The Vermont food landscape is diverse, with many small producers and retail establishments selling and preparing local products from farm to table. The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) is the state?s lead agency for public health policy and advocacy. The Vermont Department of Health Food & Lodging Program (VDHFL) is responsible for inspection and licensing of approximately 6,000 licensees that include both retail establishments and manufactured food producers. Inspection activities and outreach to retail food service establishments comprises approximately 80% of VDHFL program resources and work. VDHFL has been enrolled in the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS) since 2012, and has used the self-assessment process and standards as a means for identifying program improvements needed for the inspection, regulation, enforcement, and outreach for Vermont food service establishments. A comprehensive action plan has been developed that serves as the Strategic Plan for the state program. Several initiatives underway and priorities of the VDH Division of Environmental Health Strategic Plan will directly support implementation of the retail standards. The department is committed to a comprehensive update of program regulations based on science, implementing the Model Inspection Form, and shifting toward a risk-based inspection program. Cooperative agreement funding to support a Retail Standards Coordinator has advanced conformance implementing the VNRFRPS. VDHFL is applying for cooperative agreement funding to maintain a 0.5 FTE Retail Standards Coordinator to support significant progress implementing Standards 1, 3, and 4 of the retail program standards. 1
Advancing Conformance with Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards Project Narrative The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) is applying for cooperative agreement funding to support achieving conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (VNRFRPS). The mission of VDH is ?To protect and promote optimal health for all Vermonters.? Support for local food production and retail businesses continues to grow steadily, and there is a public health need to improve regulatory foundations, use limited inspection resources efficiently, and make evidence-based decisions using food safety program data. Funding is needed for a position to coordinate advancing conformance with the VNRFRPS to achieve significant progress implementing retail standards and improve food safety practices in Vermont to protect the public health.