Conference for Food Protection

2016 Biennial Meeting

Issue View | Council II | 2016 Biennial Meeting

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Issue Number: Council II 010

Issue History

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PSC 5 - Amend Retail Program Standard 7

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

Amend Standard 7 of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards) to allow electronic mechanisms, such as social media and web-based meetings for forums, to be used as a method to satisfy the requirement for two-way interaction between regulatory authorities and industry/community stakeholders.

Public Health Significance

Several jurisdictions have asked whether the use of social media sites such as twitter, blogs or food program websites with surveys or feedback buttons would meet the Retail Program Standard No. 7 requirements. In its current form, Standard 7 (written in 1997 before the modern internet) requires an annual 'meeting' with stakeholders with the intent to facilitate program feedback from industry and consumers in the community. The stated intent is to foster communication exchange between regulatory, industry and consumers. Web-based forums for communication have expanded since the late 90's and can provide an effective mechanism for feedback to the retail food regulatory program. These web-based forums offer two-way communication with not only the food industry but also for consumers, who have traditionally been difficult to include in formal, face-to-face meetings in a meaningful way.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to the FDA recommending the following changes to Standard 7 of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (new language is underlined; language to be deleted is in strikethrough format):

Standard 7

Industry and Community Relations

This standard applies to industry and community outreach activities utilized used by a retail food regulatory program to solicit a broad spectrum of input into a comprehensive regulatory food program about a retail food regulatory program's previous, current, and future activities, communicate sound public health food safety principles, and foster and recognize community initiatives focused on the reduction of foodborne disease illness risk factors.

Requirement Summary

The jurisdiction documents participation in forums that foster communication and information exchange among the regulators, industry and consumer representatives.

The jurisdiction documents outreach activities that provide educational information on food safety.

Description of Requirement

1. Industry and Consumer Interaction

The jurisdiction sponsors or actively participates in meetings forums with two-way communication such as food safety task forces meetings, advisory boards, or advisory committees, customer surveys, web-based meetings or forums, or other mechanisms. These forums shall present information on food safety, food safety strategies and interventions to control risk factors. Offers of participation must be extended to industry and consumer representatives.

2. Educational Outreach

Outreach encompasses industry and consumer groups as well as media and elected officials. Outreach efforts may include industry recognition programs, websites, newsletters, Fight BAC® campaigns, food safety month activities, food worker training, school-based activities, customer surveys use of oral culture learner materials, or other activities that increase awareness of the foodborne illness risk factors and control methods to prevent foodborne illness. Outreach activities may also include posting inspection information on a website or in the press.

Agency participation in at least one activity in each of the above categories annually is sufficient to meet this standard.


The desired outcome of this standard is enhanced communication with industry and consumers through forums designed to solicit input to improve the retail food safety regulatory program. A further outcome is the reduction of foodborne illness risk factors through educational outreach and cooperative efforts with stakeholders.


The Qquality records needed for this standard reflect activities over the most recent five-year period and include:

  1. Minutes, agendas or other records documenting that forums were conducted,
  2. For formal, recurring meetings, documents such documents as by-laws, charters, membership criteria and lists, frequency of meetings, roles, etc.,
  3. Surveys, web feedback links with associated follow-up materials and review documents,
  4. Documentation of performed actions or activities designed with input from industry and consumers to improve the control of foodborne illness risk factors, or
  5. Documentation of food safety educational efforts.

Statements of policies and procedures may suffice if activities are continuous, and documenting multiple incidents would be cumbersome, (e.g,_recognition provided to establishments with exemplary records or an on-going website).

Submitter Information 1

Name David Lawrence, Chair
Organization Program Standards Committee
Address Fairfax County Health Department
10777 Main Street, Suite 111
Fairfax, VA 22030
Telephone (703) 246-8435

Submitter Information 2

Name Debbie C. Watts, MPH, Co Vice-Chair
Organization Program Standards Committee
Address Tulsa Health Department
5051 South 129th East Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74134
Telephone (918) 595-4305

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