30,000+ health inspectors/assessors have an opportunity to be more focused on prevention in keeping with the principles of Active Managerial Control (AMC) and in the spirit of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
A condition for improved learning for food handlers and their managers can be achieved by scheduling inspections rather than expecting food service managers to learn in what often feels like a raid, especially when key managers are missing.
Local experiments are in and the scheduled assessment format is capable of culture change and the building of mutual respect between inspector and operator. (See attachments.) Once a program of scheduled inspections is implemented neither party wants to return to former practices.
Discussions with PICs and senior management, focused on prioritized foodborne illness risk factors, uncover many food safety concerns that cannot be discovered by observation alone. This point is crystallized in this quote from an operator during an outbreak investigation. "Why didn't you point out all these risks? Why did you wait until we had an outbreak?"
Public Health Significance
Minimally trained foodservice managers and staff threaten public health. Without clear risk-based objectives managers are themselves barriers to effective and sustainable staff training as they set priorities and control budgets. It is the manager training that has been the missing link. Industry turnover rates exacerbate the issue.
The available on-site training hours of 30,000 inspector/trainers are estimated to be over 20 million per year. Better-utilized health inspector time can help food managers understand the risks associated with foodborne illness risk factors and how to effectively manage/minimize them.
Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...
that a letter be sent to the FDA recommending that the 2013 Food Code Annexes be amended to encourage scheduled inspection programs by regulatory agencies.