The FDA and CDC have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen food safety in retail environments. The goal of the renewed partnership is to help reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness in retail and foodservice establishments.
This MOU, which was signed on September 21, was developed to help increase the consistency and capacity of retail food protection programs across the country, promote a general culture of food safety and facilitate continued communication between the FDA and CDC to assist state, tribal, local, territorial (SLTL) and industry partners.
The three primary goals of the MOU include:
- Increase uniformity, consistency and capacity of STLT retail food protection programs
- Promote industry’s active managerial control (AMC) of foodborne illness risk factors and promote a culture of food safety
- Maintain a strong FDA National Retail Food Team (NRFT) and CDC National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) workforce to assist STLT partners.
The agencies are seeking to: improve STLT’s effectiveness in conducting risk-based inspections and foodborne illness investigations; promote a culture of food safety and food safety management systems within retail and foodservice establishments; and improve research in support of foodborne illness risk factor reduction.
To accomplish these objectives, the FDA and CDC are both tasked with establishing metrics to measure the success of collaborations as well as establishing direct and consistent relationships at multiple organizational levels, sharing best practices, and identifying opportunities for leveraging the resources of both agencies to more efficiently and effectively support STLT retail regulatory programs as well as both FDA and CDC retail food protection initiatives.
In its announcement of the MOU, the FDA notes that it has historically worked with CDC to help control the risk factors for foodborne illness outbreaks in retail settings. “This MOU will ensure enhanced continued collaboration on this important work,” the agency wrote.