About the Collaborative

The Retail Food Safety Regulatory Association Collaborative (Collaborative) brings together representatives from seven member organizations to improve 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), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These agencies and organizations are working together to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness.

Our work focuses on developing a national strategy for adoption of the latest editions of the FDA Food Code, promoting and improving food safety culture, increasing enrollment and active participation and conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards, improving foodborne illness outbreak investigations, improving food safety management systems at retail food facilities, and enhancing effective communications and sharing of best practices among retail food protection partners.

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

Current Collaborative Representatives

  • AFDO: Steven Mandernach, Natalie Adan, Catherine Feeney
  • ASTHO: Abraham Kulungara, Courtney Youngbar
  • 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

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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