his month the NACCHO Exchange Spring 2021 issue featured an article highlighting the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative. The article gives a brief introduction to the Collaborative’s objectives and origin.

In the first Environmental Health themed issue since 2016, the NACCHO Exchange journal highlights local health departments’ recent work across a spectrum of programs including vector control, water quality and safety, Health in All Policies, climate change, retail food safety, and more.

Introducing the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative

By Brooke Benschoter, Director of Communications, Association of Food and Drug Officials; Amy Chang, Senior Program Analyst, NACCHO; Terryn Laird, Public Health Communications Specialist, National Environmental Health Association; David Lawrence, Fairfax County; Dr. David McSwane, Executive Director, Conference for Food Protection; Anupama Varma, Communications Specialist, NACCHO

According to NACCHO’s 2019 Profile Study, 78% of local health departments provided regulation, inspection, or licensing services of food service establishments in 2018, indicating that retail food safety is an essential public health service. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint was released, it represented a new approach to food safety that leverages technology and tools to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system. The blueprint outlined the approach FDA will take over the next decade to bend the curve of foodborne illness in this country by reducing the number of illnesses. Core Element three of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint, “New Business Models and Retail Modernization,” addresses how to protect foods from contamination as new business models emerge and change to meet the needs of the modern consumer.

The Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative (hereafter known as the Collaborative)—made up of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), the CDC, the Conference for Food Protection (CFP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NACCHO, and NEHA—conducts a wide scope of work aligning with this core element. A coordinated approach among retail food regulatory associations will benefit local health departments in performing their food safety work.

To read the entire issue, visit NACCHO’s online bookstore.

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