Florida Restaurant Inspection Program Ranks Top in Nation
Division of Hotels and Restaurants Achieves High U.S. FDA Program Standards
May 7, 2008
TALLAHASEE – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (Department) announced today that Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants has achieved five out of nine possible National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Department is one of only six food regulatory inspection programs—out of a total of 306 jurisdictions currently enrolled in the standards—and the largest restaurant inspection program in the country to have achieved five standards. During the past several years, the Division has actively sought national third party recognition of the program’s quality through the U.S. FDA Recommended National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards.
“Achieving these standards is a demonstration of our strong commitment to providing the safest possible dining environment for Floridians and visitors,” said Interim Secretary Chuck Drago. “I am proud of the Division’s continuous efforts to make innovative enhancements to Florida’s food safety inspection program, providing better consumer protection.”
The benchmark standards for programs, such as Florida’s, are not minimum requirements; rather, they specify the best practices for retail food safety inspection programs. The standards provide a framework for regulatory entities to voluntarily assess retail food safety programs utilizing nationally recognized criteria. The nine standards are the Division’s primary tool for continuous improvement in food safety operations—the Division’s largest area of activity. The goal is to fully integrate the standards into the Division’s core value system and daily operations. The achievement of five standards places Florida’s program among the top in the nation.
“To be recognized as one of the top statewide retail food programs to achieve these standards speaks to the Department’s dedication to food safety and consumer protection,” said Division of Hotels and Restaurant Director Bill Veach. “We will continue to strive to reach all nine FDA standards.”
Florida’s Division of Hotels and restaurants has achieved the following standards:
- Regulatory Foundation – This standard is based upon a strong, science-based regulatory framework, contained in law and administrative rule, for retail food service establishments.
- Trained Regulatory Staff – The outcome of this standard is a trained regulatory staff with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct quality inspections.
- Foodborne Illness and Food Security Preparedness and Response - This standard applies to the surveillance, investigation, response, and subsequent review of alleged food-related incidents and emergencies, either unintentional or deliberate, that result in illness, injury and outbreaks.
- Industry and Community Relations – This standard is achieved through outreach activities designed to obtain regulatory input and convey food safety principles, which the Division does through the Advisory Council, the Division’s Web site and Hospitality Education Program training activities.
- Program Assessment – This standard establishes the methodology to measure the program’s effectiveness and describes how the FDA Standards process is implemented.
In addition to the above standards, the following four standards are part of the program:
- Inspection program based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles
- Uniform inspection program
- Compliance and enforcement
- Program support and resources
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of the public through education in partnership with the industry. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
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