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Advancing Conformance With The Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards


Project REACH Abstract and Summary Washington is a home rule state with multiple local, state, and federal agencies responsible for retail foodsafety with no singular agency providing oversight. There are also twenty-nine sovereign tribal nations withpotential food safety roles and minimal assistance from the state department of health. While non-centralizedcontrol allows local officials, tribes, and citizens the benefit of direct access and responsibility, the arrangementhas led to concerns and challenges in retail food safety rule application, capacity, and succession. In Washington, only 18 out of 35 local health jurisdictions, one military base, and one state food safetyprogram are enrolled in the US Food & Drug Administration Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory ProgramStandards. Only one jurisdiction has met three standards; all other enrollees are meeting 0-1 standards. In orderto increase consistency among the regulatory agencies, Project REACH (Reactivating Enrollees and CatalyzingHeadway) will conduct a coordinated education and material development effort to increase the number ofenrolled jurisdictions and improve the progress of stalled enrollees across eight standards. Project REACH will use current best practice and the 2017 FDA Food Code to prepare model policies andprocedures, regulatory and industry training materials, and updated enforcement and field inspection guides. Alleducational materials will be based on two concepts common in food safety, active managerial control (AMC) andHazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), to apply a known food safety practice to the less familiar conceptof program improvement. This tandem approach will build on a current knowledge base and provide materialsavailable for regulatory partners to use with industry. Additionally, the program intends to use outbreakinvestigation guidance from CDC?s National Environmental Assessment Reporting System (NEARS) and Council toImprove Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR) to modify investigation report forms, materials, and protocols totrain regulatory partners on illness reporting, response, and mitigation. In addition to meeting FDA ProgramStandards, all materials will also be consistent with Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) standards. The goals of Project REACH are to increase consistent and competent application of risk-based food safetyprocedures with a two-prong approach: increasing both enrollment and participation in Program Standards,preparing best practice materials that can be used with both regulatory and industry staff, meeting nationalstandards from both FDA and PHAB, and using two common food-safety concepts (AMC and HACCP) to helpimprove both internal and external food safety effectiveness.

Graham, Joe M
Washington State Department of Health
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