FDA commits to retail food safety

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has launched an initiative that is designed to assure the safety of food sold at retail.

The Retail Food Safety Action Plan is designed to improve the way managers of food establishments (i.e., food stores, restaurants, schools and other foodservice opertaions) conduct food safety operations in their facilities and assure that personnel are trained on measures to keep food safe. Additionally, the initiative will expand the oversight of these establishments by federal, state and local public health agencies.

What's more, the FDA announced that it has released a supplement to the 2009 FDA Food Code, which includes a new and modified recommendations, including:

  • Requiring that food establishments have a certified food protection manager on staff;

  • Among the established duties of the person-in-charge, all operating procedures required by the Food Code are developed and implemented; that it can be verified that all employees are informed about their obligation to report certain health conditions that relate to transmission of foodborne illness; and that any food the establishment receives after operating hours is delivered in a manner that does not create a food safety hazard;

  • Requiring that food establishments have a plan for responding to and properly cleaning-up after an employee or other individual becomes physically ill in areas where food may be prepared, stored or served;

  • Clarifying appropriate exceptions to the prohibition of bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods prepared in the establishment;

  • Clarifying the requirements for the safe storage and display of ground and whole-muscle meat and poultry;

  • New requirements for devices used to generate chemical sanitizers on- site in the food establishment;

  • Establishing clearer guidelines for the amount time a food establishment should be given to correct violations of different types of provisions in the Food Code.

In line with the new action plan, the FDA has entered a cooperative agreement with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, whereby FDA and NACCHO will promote the use of best practices by local authorities and develop tools to strengthen retail food safety oversight and implement FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards for retail food regulatory programs.

For more information, visit FDA.gov.

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