FDA calls for increased food-safety efforts in wake of 10-year study

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday called on restaurants and food markets to hire food-safety managers to protect the public's health.

The recommendation is based on the findings of a 10-year study of retail establishments' efforts to reduce five key risk factors, released Friday. This comes as the nation is reeling from recent recalls of tainted eggs and peanut butter.

"In looking at the data, it is quite clear that having a certified food protection manager on the job makes a difference," FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor said in a statement. "Some states and localities require certified food protection managers already, and many in the retail industry employ them voluntarily as a matter of good practice. We think it should become common practice."

In addition to calling for certified food-protection managers to be common practice, Taylor said the FDA initiative will include:

  • Increased efforts to encourage widespread, uniform and complete adoption of the FDA Model Food Code by state, local and tribal regulatory agencies that are responsible for retail food-safety standard setting and inspection. The Food Code recommends standards for management and personnel, food operations and equipment and facilities; and
  • Increased efforts for adoption of FDA’s National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards by state, local and tribal agencies that enforce the Food Code and other measures to create an enhanced local regulatory environment for retail food operations. 

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Friday that the voluntary quality-control system of independent inspectors who audit the nation's food producers is rife with conflicts of interest and is largely ineffective.