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Regional Food Safety Permitting and Inspection in a Home Rule State - Objective is to Create an Enhanced Regional Local Regulatory Environment for Retail Food Operations in Nine or More Communities


Berkshire Public Health Alliance Project Abstract Massachusetts is a home rule state with no county government. Each community regardless of size is responsible for all public health mandates, including food safety. The Berkshire Public Health Alliance (Alliance) is a collaboration among 23 small Berkshire, Massachusetts communities, their Boards of Health and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC), the administrative and fiscal host, which have signed an Inter- Municipal Agreement to leverage resources and share staff, programs and grants. The goal is for Alliance communities to work towards meeting all nine Retail Program Standards. This project will focus on improving food safety by meeting Retail Program Standards #1: Regulatory Foundation; #3: Inspection Program based on HACCP Principles; and #4: Uniform Inspection Program, although elements of all nine Standards will be essential to meeting these three Standards. <p>The Project Objectives are to:</p><p><ol><li> Establish a common operating picture and regulatory foundation among Alliance communities consistent with Massachusetts State law and Retail Program Standards. </li><li> Create a regional, coordinated, uniform online permitting program for retail food that is consistent with Massachusetts State law and Retail Program Standards. </li><li> Create a regional uniform food safety inspection program based on HACCP principles that is consistent with Massachusetts State law and Retail Program Standards. </li></ol></p><p>This project will focus on creating a uniform, regional, online permitting and inspection program based on HACCP principles. Food safety is a priority in all Alliance communities as Berkshire County is a major holiday and children’s camp destination. Online permitting and inspections projects help ensure a uniform, compliant food safety program. By connecting and coordinating food permitting and inspection programs in 23 small, rural towns; the region will collectively be able to meet Retail Program Standards to improve regional food safety and ensure the public health. In addition to online permitting and inspections, the project will work to train local food inspectors to a uniform standard and ensure consistency by rotating inspection staff working in each community among all participating communities. An Alliance Sanitarian and a FDA standardized food inspector/trainer will supervise staff training and inspections. </p>

Kittross, Laura
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
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