The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Friday announced the release of the Report of the FDA Retail Food Program Database of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors. This report establishes a baseline to measure how effective industry and regulatory efforts are in changing behaviors and practices that directly relate to food-borne illness in the retail food industry.
FDA advises state and local governments on food safety standards for institutional food service establishments, restaurants, retail food stores, and other retail food establishments. By establishing a baseline, FDA will be better able to measure compliance with its Food Code --a food safety guideline developed by FDA for maintaining food safety in restaurants, grocery stores, nursing homes, and other institutional and retail settings.
Data collected from nearly 900 institutional food service establishments, restaurants, and retail food stores showed that the risk factors in need of greatest attention were:
- Improper Holding Times and Temperatures
- Contaminated Equipment / Cross Contamination
- Poor Personal Hygiene
It is expected that an improvement in compliance with the Food Code provisions that address these risk factors may have a direct impact on reducing the occurrence of food-borne illness.
On the other hand, risk factors which were revealed not to require increased attention included:
- Foods from Unsafe Sources
- Inadequate Cooking
Future studies planned for 2003 and 2008 are expected to provide input into one of Healthy People 2010's food safety objectives. Healthy People 2010 is a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative with the objective to improve the health of all Americans. One objective is to improve food preparation practices and food employee behaviors at institutional food service establishments, restaurants, and retail food stores.
A Federal Register notice announcing the availability of the report was published September 6, 2000. A public meeting will be held on October 27, 2000. The purpose of the meeting is to present the methodology used for developing the baseline and inspectional data results.