The FDA announced they have launched a new national program to make sure state run regulatory programs for manufacturing, processing, and packing food are more uniform, equivalent, and are of high quality.
As of now, program regulations can vary from state to state. The FDA thinks these variations can lead to inconsistencies in the oversight of food safety. The national program’s regulations will establish a uniform way of improving and observing the performance of each state’s regulatory program and will help in reducing the risks of foodborne illness in food facilities.
The Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards are the result of five years of intensive cooperative effort by federal and state regulators. The standards define best practices for the critical elements of state regulatory programs designed to protect the public from foodborne illness and injury, including the program’s regulatory foundation; staff training; inspection; quality assurance; food defense preparedness and response; foodborne illness and incident investigation; enforcement; education and outreach; resource management; laboratory resources; and program assessment.
All of these standards have self-assessment worksheets and some of the standards have supplemental worksheets to help state regulators make sure their program addresses all the elements of each standard. The program was approved by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and will be tested first in New York, Oregon, and Missouri before the end of September.