About the Collaborative

The Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative (Collaborative) brings together representatives from seven member organizations with a role in improving retail food safety in the United States.

  • Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO)
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Conference for Food Protection (CFP)
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

We leverage our combined strengths and resources to create and share tools and resources food safety programs can use to improve food safety in their jurisdictions. The Collaborative’s six objectives are poised to influence or benefit regulatory food safety programs and the food safety culture at restaurants and other retail food establishments. Our objectives are:

  1. Develop a strategy to support national Food Code adoption.
  2. Increase use of risk-based inspections and intervention strategies.
  3. Increase use of FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.
  4. Improve foodborne outbreak investigation methods.
  5. Increase the number of restaurants and other retail food establishments with well-developed food safety management systems that use active managerial control.
  6. Develop a strategy to enhance communication and better tell our collective story.

Meeting of the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative, Washington D.C., December 11-12, 2023

Pictured (left to right): Christina Roland, Heather Tomlinson, Nicholas Adams, Laura Brown, David Dyjack, Catherine Feeney, John Marcello, Abraham Kulungara, Steven Mandernach, Jim Jones, Andy Baker-White, David Lawrence, Glenda Lewis, Natalie Adan, Chelsea Gridley-Smith, Andre Pierce, Gina Bare, Brenda Bacon, Rance Baker, Laurie Farmer, Courtney Youngbar

Current Collaborative Representatives

  • AFDO: Steven Mandernach, Natalie Adan, Catherine Feeney
  • ASTHO: Abraham Kulungara, Courtney Youngbar, Heather Tomlinson
  • CDC: Laura Brown
  • CFP: David McSwane, David Lawrence, Brenda Bacon
  • FDA: Laurie Farmer, Glenda Lewis
  • NACCHO: Jennifer Li, Chelsea Gridley-Smith, Nicholas Adams
  • NEHA: David Dyjack, Laura Wildey, Rance Baker

Collaborative Representatives

Meeting of the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative, Washington D.C., September 27-29, 2022

Pictured (left to right): John Marcello, Rance Baker, Laura Brown, Andre Pierce, Elizabeth O’Malley, Chelsea Gridley-Smith, Nicholas Adams, Mary Cartagena, Brenda Bacon, Jenice Butler, David Lawrence, Elizabeth Nutt, Laura Wildey, Laurie Farmer, Frank Yiannas, Steven Mandernach, Angie Wheeler, Kimberly Destromp, Chris Smith, Natalie Adan, Catherine Feeney, Brooke Benschoter

Meeting of the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative, Rockville, MD January 29-30, 2020

Pictured (left to right): Laura Brown, Girvin Liggans, Brenda Bacon, John Marcello, James Fear, Steve Moris, David Lawrence, David Dyjack, Natalie Adan, Laurie Farmer, Timothy Weigner, David McSwane, Eric Bradley, Steven Mandernach, Jennifer Li, Alan Tart, Chelsea Gridley-Smith, John Stoll, Elizabeth O’Malley, Chris Smith, Amy Chang, Kimberly Destromp, Mary Cartagena, Vince Radke 

Our Founding Members

Retail Regulatory Association Summit, June 4 – 6, 2019.

Pictured (left to right): Girvin Liggans, Glenda Lewis, Elizabeth O’Malley, Mary Cartagena, Kimberly Demstrop, Chris Smith, Eric Bradley, John Marcello, Laurie Farmer, James Fear, David Lawrence, Natalie Adan, Brenda Bacon, Vince Radke, Timothy Weigner, Alan Tart, Jennifer Li, Steven Mandernach, Amy Chang

Our Story

Beginning in the fall of 2018 representatives from the US Food and Drug Administration with a vested interest in bending the curve of foodborne illness at the retail level, held meetings with the leadership of the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), Conference for Food Protection (CFP), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and National Environmental Health Association (NEHA).

These conversations began building stronger relationships and setting the stage for a joint meeting where these partners could coordinate and align efforts to reduce foodborne illness associated with the retail sector. As a result, the first-ever Retail Food Regulatory Association Summit was held June 4 – 6, 2019.

During this Summit, these stakeholders and leaders:

  • learned about each Association’s missions, constituency, and current initiatives supporting retail;
  • established a strategic goal: “to reduce foodborne illness by reducing the occurrence of risk factors”;
  • identified joint initiatives currently underway;
  • brainstormed and prioritized short and long-term future initiatives;
  • and developed action plans to complete top-tier, short-term priorities.

The group established several long-term priorities to further their strategic goal, including, but not limited to:

  • Identifying, assessing, and promoting implementation of effective intervention strategies to reduce foodborne illness risk factor occurrence;
  • Building upon the FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards technical assistance strategy to provide a “multiplier effect” to promote participation and implementation of the standards by state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) retail food regulatory programs;
  • Assessing the application of risk-based inspection methods by SLTT regulatory jurisdictions;
  • Identifying and issuing joint recommendations with the FDA on emerging retail food safety issues; and
  • Developing methods to better share information among stakeholders.

Additionally, subgroups were established to accomplish specific goals identified. This included the development of ground rules that lay the operational foundation for the newly formed partnership supporting development of a toolkit to promote complete adoption of the most recent FDA Food Code by retail food regulatory programs. Subsequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also became a partner in this endeavor, working collaboratively on these initiatives.

From this effort, the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative, as it later came to be known, was born. The Collaborative was recognized at the 25th Annual FDA Office of Regulatory Affairs Honor Awards celebration and as of FY20, was positioned to begin addressing long-term priorities.

The Collaborative

These organizations make up the Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative.

The mark ‘CDC’ is owned by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and is used with permission. Use of this logo is not an endorsement by HHS or CDC of any particular product, service, or enterprise.

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