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Educational Procedures

  • (See the section “Columbus Public Health Food Protection Program” later in this chapter) Enforcement Procedures
  • (See the section devoted to “Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Columbus Public Health Food Protection Programs” later in this chapter)

Presidents and Food Safety

In 1998, President Clinton formed the President’s Council on Food Safety by Executive Order. He was concerned about the safety of the food supply and wanted science-based regulations, well- coordinated inspections, proper enforcement, excellent research, and education programs. In 2000, President Bush formed the President’s Food Safety Initiative. It recommended an intergovernmental

Foodborne Outbreak Response Coordinating Group (FORCG). Its goal was to improve the approach to interstate outbreaks of foodborne disease by all federal, state, and local agencies. The group developed standard operating procedures for the rapid exchange of data and information related to a given outbreak, and provided a blueprint for local entities to follow to expedite the investigation of the outbreak and get help at various levels. In 2009, President Obama created the President’s Food Safety Working Group. The Working Group has recommended a new public health focused approach to food safety:

  • 1. The regulatory agencies should become proactive and utilize methods of prevention of disease especially prioritizing those areas that are most critical and protecting individuals who are most vulnerable, instead of waiting for an outbreak of disease to occur. Rigorous standards need to be established and enforced in a timely manner.
  • 2. High quality data analysis should become the basis for determining which foods are at risk and which situations contribute to the level of risk. This information should be provided to the regulatory agencies in order for them to make excellent risk-based inspections, provide appropriate solutions to problems, assist industry in correcting the situations in a timely manner, and evaluate the results.
  • 3. Outbreaks of foodborne illness should be rapidly identified and stopped. An effective food tracing system helps shorten the outbreak, detection, solutions, and preventive measures to avoid future outbreaks.
  • 4. The federal government should provide necessary resources to help local health departments, state health departments, and industry. A sharp increase in funding would provide the effective level of highly competent personnel that would be needed to carry out the programs and protect the public from foodborne disease outbreaks. In addition, the Congress needs to provide the necessary funds for sharp increases in personnel and programming at the local and state levels.

Programs

Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards

  • (See endnote 56)
  • Standard 1—Regulatory Foundation
  • • This standard covers: public health interventions, control measures for risk factors for foodborne disease, good retail practices, and compliance and enforcement found in the Food Code.
  • Standard 2—Trained Regulatory Staff
  • • This standard covers: appropriate educational requirements for the individuals to have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties, completion of 25 joint field training inspections followed by 25 independent inspections, completion of an FDA-type standardization process, and completion of 20 contact hours of continuing education every 3 years.
  • Standard 3—Inspection Program Based on HACCP Principles
  • • This standard covers: implementing an inspection form that identifies and documents risk factors, a specific grade for each risk factor, interventions, and compliance, helps assign a risk category to each establishment, encourages on-site corrective actions, and establishes written policies for all facets of the inspection process.
  • Standard 4—Uniform Inspection Program
  • • This standard covers: an on-going quality assurance program, appropriate documentation of all risk categories, proper interpretation of laws, regulations and policies, and effective long-term control of risk factors, especially those which have been repeated.
  • Standard 5—Foodborne Illness and Food Defense Preparedness and Response
  • • This standard covers: an established process to detect problems, collect data, and investigate and respond to complaints and emergencies about foodborne illness and injury from intentional and unintentional food contamination, a written operating procedure on epidemiological investigations and databases, procedures for notifying state and federal agencies, and subsequent appropriate measures to contain the outbreak and/or prevent another one from occurring.
  • Standard 6—Compliance and Enforcement
  • • This standard covers: all voluntary and regulatory actions needed to achieve compliance with the rules and regulations, a written detailed procedure describing compliance and enforcement, inspection forms and other documentation, and compliance and enforcement actions and results.
  • Standard 7—Industry and Community Relations
  • • This standard covers: appropriate interactions with industry and consumer groups, educational outreach by all forms of media and personal contact, and provision of regulatory personnel to assist industry, schools, and communities as needed
  • Standard 8—Program Support and Resources
  • • This standard covers: one full-time equivalent person working in the food area for every 280-320 inspections including all facets from routine to training to disease investigation outbreaks, grouping of establishments by risk, inspection equipment, computers and software, administrative staff support, regulatory staff trained in HACCP principles, foodborne disease, compliance and enforcement, program assessment, and an accredited laboratory.
  • Standard 9—Program Assessment
  • • This standard covers: the program manager conducting an initial self-assessment within 12 months of the date of enrollment in the National Registry, thereafter a verification self-assessment every 36 months, and a survey of the occurrence of risk factors at least every 5 years.
 
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