Project SummaryThe Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH) Food Protection Program(FPP) seeks to reduce the risk for foodborne disease by improving the quality ofinspections of food service establishments conducted by local health departments. Alack of uniform application of food regulations has been recognized both nationally andin Connecticut by the FPP, local health departments, and the food industry. The FederalFood and Drug Administration (FDA) developed the Voluntary National Retail FoodRegulatory Program Standards to improve uniformity among regulatory programs withresponsibility for enforcing food protection laws. The goal of this project is to achieveconformance with Standard #4, Uniform Inspection Program, by developing self-assessment and quality assurance programs to be used by the local health departmentsand the FPP.With a part-time staff person, the FPP will have the resources necessary to devote tothe development, review, pilot, and promotion of a self-assessment program for localhealth departments. The program will be utilized by local health departments to reviewinspection data with a focus on the frequency of identification of risk factor violations forfoodborne disease. Too often the focus is on the number of inspections completedrather than the quality of inspections that can have the most impact on ensuring theviolations that most often cause foodborne illness are identified and corrected. Localhealth department supervisors will use the program to work with staff to address anynoted deficiencies.A quality assurance program will also be developed and used by the FPP to audit thelocal health department self-assessments to ensure that deficiencies are recognizedand addressed by the local health departments. The FPP can assist local healthdepartments in improving the uniformity of inspections by developing and providing thisprogram for their use.