FDA Issues 2019 Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards

(UNDATED) – Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the 2019 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards), which define the key elements of an effective retail food regulatory program for state, local, tribal, and territorial food regulatory jurisdictions.

The Retail Program Standards provide recommendations for designing and managing retail food regulatory programs and help regulatory jurisdictions (or other responsible organizations) facilitate more effective inspections, implement foodborne illness prevention strategies, and identify program areas in need of improvement.

The 2019 edition of the Retail Program Standards incorporates changes based on recommendations discussed at the Conference for Food Protection 2018 Biennial Meeting and other minor editorial changes.   

These changes include:

  • A new tool entitled “Quick Reference – Applicable 2017 Food Code Provisions (Risk Factors and Interventions)” added to Standard 6 to assist food regulatory jurisdictions in comparing their Code risk factors and interventions to the 2017 FDA Food Code.
  • Updates to Standard 3 that assists food regulatory jurisdictions in developing and implementing a program policy.
  • Clarifications within Standard 8 that assists food regulatory jurisdictions in evaluating conformance within the Self-Assessment/Verification Audit Form (criteria 1-4).
  • Updated weblinks within Standard 2: Appendix B-1 Curriculum for Retail Food Safety Inspection Officers to assist food regulatory jurisdictions accessing courses online.

The FDA encourages jurisdictions responsible for regulation development or regulatory oversight of retail food establishments that sell, serve, or vend food directly to the public to enroll in the Retail Program Standards.

Enrollment in the Retail Program Standards conveys a jurisdiction’s intent to actively use the Retail Program Standards as a tool to assess and improve its retail food regulatory program.

If a food regulatory jurisdiction enrolls in the Retail Program Standards, it can also apply for federal funding to further assist their efforts towards strengthening their own program.

Enrollment, however, is not necessary to use the worksheets and materials available through the Retail Program Standards.  

Information on how to enroll can be found at Administrative Procedures for Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards

A complete list of food regulatory jurisdictions enrolled in the Retail Program Standards is available at Listing of Jurisdictions Enrolled in the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.

The 2019 edition of the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards, along with the Summary of Changes document are available on the FDA’s website.

The FDA Retail Food Specialists and officials from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition can answer questions about the Retail Program Standards at RetailFoodPolicyTeam@fda.hhs.gov.

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