FDA issues 2017 retail program standards

March 7, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued the 2017 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards), which define the key elements of an effective retail food regulatory program for state, local, tribal, and territorial food regulatory agencies. The Retail Program Standards provide recommendations for designing and managing these retail food regulatory programs and help these regulatory agencies (or other responsible organizations) identify program areas in need of improvement, and facilitate more effective inspections and foodborne illness prevention strategies.

The 2017 edition incorporates changes based on recommendations discussed at the Conference for Food Protection 2016 Biennial Meeting and other minor editorial changes. These changes include:

  • Updates to the Training Standard definition
  • Clarification to the standardizing and re-standardizing criteria for Food Safety Inspection Officers (FSIOs)
  • Alignment of program elements in Retail Program Standard 4 with the performance elements and competencies contained in Retail Program Standard 2, resulting in 20 program elements and an increase in the minimum number of required field assessments
  • Consolidation of the facility categories that can be used when conducting a risk factor study
  • Consolidation of reporting forms, FDA Forms 3519 and 3520, into one single FDA Form 3598

The FDA encourages government agencies responsible for regulation or oversight of the retail food establishments that sell, serve, or vend food directly to the public to enroll in the Retail Program Standards. Enrollment conveys a jurisdiction’s intent to actively use the Retail Program Standards as a tool to assess and improve its retail food regulatory program. If a jurisdiction enrolls in the program and works towards strengthening its own program through enrollment, it can also apply for federal funding to further assist their efforts. A jurisdiction can, however, use the worksheets and materials without enrolling in the Retail Program Standards.

Constituent Update