Service Area Strategic Plan
4/17/2014   9:00 am
Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (301)
Biennium:
Service Area 1 of 1
Regulation of Food Establishments and Processors (301 554 01)
Description

This service area enforces the Virginia Food Laws to protect the health and safety of every citizen in Virginia who consumes food products by ensuring that these foods are safe, wholesome, properly labeled and fit for human consumption.

Services include:

•Inspections of food manufacturing, food processing, food storage and retail food sales facilities for compliance with the Virginia Food Laws as well as all associated regulations to address general sanitary conditions and procedures, foodborne illness risk factors, employee food-handling practices, labeling issues and other factors relating to economic deception.
•Food defense inspections and consultations to ensure that food products within establishments are free from adulterants resulting from intentional contamination.
•Inspections of establishments that manufacture, store or sell dietary supplements to ensure sanitary conditions in those establishments as well as to affirm that dietary supplements reviewed are safe and properly labeled.
•Collect food samples during inspections of and visits to food establishments in order to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
•Investigation of consumer complaints relating to sanitation of food establishments and suspect food products purchased or consumed are investigated on a regular basis.
•Addressing possible food contamination arising from fires, floods, hurricanes, power outages, vehicle wrecks, terrorist events, and other food related emergencies when and where the need arises.
•Provide advice, assistance and educational consultations to the food industry and to consumers relative to the requirements of the Virginia Food Laws and all associated regulations.
•Contributions to the economic development of Virginia’s food industry by providing an environment where all food related establishments can compete equitably.
•Development of regulations to establish minimum sanitary and operating requirements for the operation of all food handling and storage facilities on an ongoing basis.
•Foodborne illness investigations and traceback activities in order to determine the sources of contamination leading to foodborne illness outbreaks.
Background Information
Mission Alignment and Authority
  • Describe how this service supports the agency mission
    The services provided by this program support the agency’s mission by promoting the economic growth of Virginia’s food industry and by providing consumer protection by ensuring a safe and wholesome food supply.
  • Describe the Statutory Authority of this Service
    Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended, Chapter 51:

    Article 1 § 3.2-5100 through 3.2-5104 establishes the powers & duties of the Commissioner, grants the Commissioner the right of entry and access to food establishments, provides directives relating to chemical work relative to the execution of laws, and provides for the adoption of standards of variability permissible in any article of food.

    Article 2, § 3.2-5105 through 3.2-5119 provides the general sanitary requirements for food establishments.

    Article 3, § 3.2-5120 through 3.2-5128 identifies the adulteration, misbranding and false advertising provisions, mandates prohibited acts, requires inspections of food establishments prior to opening, and provides for the adoption of regulations for the efficient enforcement of this article.

    Article 4, § 3.2-5129 through 3.2-5145 includes general provisions relating to seizures, prosecutions, penalties and enforcement.
Customers
Agency Customer Group Customer Customers served annually Potential annual customers
General Public Consumers Filing Complaints 800 1,200
General Public Consumers obtaining information 20,000 20,000
Food Manufacturers, Warehouses & Processing Plants Food Manufacturers 1,764 2,200
Food Manufacturers, Warehouses & Processing Plants Food Warehouses 640 800
Retail Food Stores, Markets, Shops & Mobile Units Retail Food Stores 8,949 9,200

Anticipated Changes To Agency Customer Base
The total number of citizens will continue to increase over time.

As the population grows and consumer trends continue to move towards ready-to-eat and value-added food products it is anticipated that the retail sector’s focus on food service will grow at a fairly consistent rate. Further diversification in the types of food products being offered for sale to the consuming public is also likely to continue. Non-traditional retail food stores specific to the needs of diverse ethnic groups will continue to proliferate. Additionally, as consumers continue to focus on various health issues, a significant increase in the number of establishments offering dietary supplements for sale to the consuming public is likely to occur. The amount of time required to inspect a retail food establishment will likely increase in order to allow Food Safety Specialists the ability to focus on all necessary aspects of the inspection.

As the population and diversity of the Commonwealth continues to increase, it is expected that the size and number of manufacturers and warehouses will increase. Manufacturers catering to the needs of diverse groups will continue to grow and proliferate at an increasing rate.

Consumer complaints relating to food and dietary supplements will increase as a well informed public continues to focus on food safety and health issues.

It is expected that greater focus will have to be placed on the safety of imported foods. Recent incidents involving imported foods demonstrate the need for greater scrutiny at all levels of government. Food and Drug Administration’s resources and ability to handle imported foods are extremely limited. Consequently, states will have to provide assistance; the unfortunate thing is that imported products are already in the marketplace when states must deal with them.

As issues relating to foodborne illnesses, tracebacks and recalls continue to increase, Food Safety Specialists and Managers will require additional resources, education and expertise to effectively address these issues.
Partners
Partner Description
[None entered]
Products and Services
  • Factors Impacting the Products and/or Services:
    An expanding industry will impact the ability of the Food Safety and Security Program to provide a safe and wholesome food supply. Without an increase in resources available to the program, as numbers of food establishments continue to proliferate, inspectional and sampling frequency at these establishments may decrease. Less frequent inspections may lead to an increase in the number of violations found by Food Safety Specialists as well as an increase in the number of food borne illness incidents and deaths.

    An increasingly diverse food industry will require additional and on-going training to ensure that Food Safety Specialists are knowledgeable regarding a wide array of products and processes.

    As the retail food industry continues to expand the types of products that it offers to the consumer, inspection times of these establishments will increase in order to adequately assess this wide array of products and processes.

    The adopted model Food and Drug Administration Food Code will require a period of adjustment for the food industry as well as Food Safety Specialists. Food Safety Specialists and the industry must familiarize themselves with new requirements that provide an enhanced focus on food-borne illness risk factors.

    Increased emphasis on food security will require that Food Safety Specialists spend more time, energy, and effort focusing on food security issues, which will significantly increase inspection time and lead to a decrease in inspection frequency.

    Increased number and diversity of standard and specialty food establishments increases the demand for consultations regarding regulatory requirements and safe food processes.

    As the number of citizens in the Commonwealth continues to grow along with the focus on food safety issues, it is anticipated that consumer complaints will expand.

    Replacing existing personnel as they leave or retire continues to be difficult. In addition to current hiring restrictions, state salaries are insufficient to lure new employees into inspector positions when compared to salaries in the food industry in general. Limited advancement opportunities combined with low entrance salaries discourage the most qualified applicants from accepting employment.

    The increasing need to deal with imported food products already in the marketplace will require that resources are directed away from other important food safety and defense issues.
  • Anticipated Changes to the Products and/or Services
    The total demand for Food Safety and Security Program products and services is expected to continue to increase. In order to provide an adequate and acceptable level of food safety and security to the citizens of the Commonwealth, it will be necessary to increase the number of Food Safety and Security Specialists in order to meet the demands relative to both an enhanced level of services required as well as a significantly expanding workload.
  • Listing of Products and/or Services
    • Inspection and enforcement as follows: Thorough and consistent inspection and enforcement of the Virginia Food Laws and associated regulations addressing sanitary conditions and practices are conducted within food establishments throughout the Commonwealth to ensure that food products are properly handled, processed, packaged, stored and transported.
    • At least 1700 food samples are collected annually in response to consumer complaints, as a result of inspectional findings, and as an ongoing process to monitor the food supply to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
    • Approximately 800 consumer complaints relating to alleged food-borne illness, adulteration of food products, labeling and advertising concerns, and establishment sanitation concerns are received and investigated annually.
    • Dietary supplements are examined frequently and determinations are made relative to product safety, proper labeling as well as health (structure/function) claims.
    • Evaluations of the adequacy of food security measures within food establishments are performed on a continuous basis. Education and consultations regarding any needed enhancements of food security plans in place are provided when and where appropriate.
    • Foodborne illness investigations and food traceback activities are conducted to determine possible sources of contamination of food products which have lead to foodborne illness outbreaks.
    • Customer Service as follows: Educational and consultative services are provided to consumers as well as new and existing food businesses who desire information relative to the requirements of the Virginia Food Laws and the associated regulations.
    • Recall audit checks are performed to ensure the effectiveness of food product recalls designed to remove defective foods from consumers and the channels of commerce.
Finance
  • Financial Overview
    [Nothing entered]
  • Financial Breakdown
    FY 2011    FY 2012
      General Fund     Nongeneral Fund        General Fund     Nongeneral Fund  
    Base Budget $2,060,256 $694,268    $2,060,256 $694,268
    Change To Base -$32,655 $200,000    -$32,655 $200,000
               
    Service Area Total   $2,027,601  $894,268     $2,027,601  $894,268 
Human Resources
  • Human Resources Overview
    [Nothing entered]
  • Human Resource Levels
    Effective Date      
    Total Authorized Position level 0    
    Vacant Positions 0    
    Current Employment Level 0.0    
    Non-Classified (Filled)    
    Full-Time Classified (Filled)    breakout of Current Employment Level
    Part-Time Classified (Filled)    
    Faculty (Filled)    
    Wage    
    Contract Employees    
    Total Human Resource Level 0.0   = Current Employment Level + Wage and Contract Employees
  • Factors Impacting HR
    [Nothing entered]
  • Anticipated HR Changes
    [Nothing entered]
Service Area Objectives
 
  • Enhance food safety and security programs for citizens of the Commonwealth.
    Objective Description
    Enhance food safety and security programs for citizens of the Commonwealth by maintaining a level of 39,381 food safety and security inspectional activities of regulated food establishments to ensure a safe and wholesome food supply for Virginia. Inspect food manufacturing, processing, storage and sales facilities for general sanitary conditions and practices and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Inspectional frequency is based on the level of risk associated with the food establishment in question. Investigate consumer complaints relating to sanitation of food establishments and food products suspected of being adulterated or having caused food-borne illness. Evaluate food manufacturing, processing, storage and sales facilities to determine adequacy of food security focus and plans. Evaluate dietary supplements offered for sale in food establishments for safety, appropriate claims, and proper labeling. Collect food samples during inspections and visits for adulterants as well as proper labeling.
    Alignment to Agency Goals
    • Agency Goal: Ensure a safe and wholesome food supply.
      Comment: Aligns with long term objective #7-Protects the public's safety and security, ensuring a fair and effective system of justice and providing a prepared response to emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
    Objective Strategies
    • Monitor productivity of food, dairy and meat/poultry field personnel to insure that inspection and sampling requirements are met through June 30, 2012.
    • Maintain numbers of filled field staff positions at maximum levels based on financial support and authorized MEL through June 30, 2012.
    • Continue to seek support and secure funding for a career ladder incentive process to retain food safety specialists and managers through June 30, 2012.
    • Expedite the investigation of consumer complaints alleging tampering or food borne illness to ascertain if intentional contamination or acts of terrorism may have occurred through June 30, 2012.
    • Implement activities designed to locate and remove from sale unsafe dietary supplements which pose a risk to the consumer through June 30, 2012.
    • Participate with the State Food Safety Task Force to reduce the level of vulnerability to acts of terrorism against the food supply through June 30, 2012.
    Link to State Strategy
    • nothing linked
    Objective Measures
    • Number of inspectional activities.
      Measure Class:
      Other
      Measure Type:
      Outcome
      Measure Frequency:
      Annual
      Preferred Trend:
      Maintain
      Measure Baseline Value:
      39381
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description: 39,381 inspectional activities in FY09.

      Measure Target Value:
      39381
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: Maintain level of at least 39381 inspectional activities.

      Data Source and Calculation: Data is collected from inspectional, complaint and sampling information generated by Food Safety and Security Specialists and is keyed into a mainframe database. Food Safety Program data is calculated and is combined and compiled with the data generated by the Dairy Services Program and the Office of Meat and Poultry Services. This data is reported on a quarterly and annual basis.

    • Rate of voluntary compliance with the Virginia Food Safety Code for food establishments inspected by the Office of Dairy and Foods.
      Measure Class:
      Agency Key
      Measure Type:
      Outcome
      Measure Frequency:
      Quarterly
      Preferred Trend:
      Maintain
      Measure Baseline Value:
      99.98
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description: 99.98 percent in FY09.

      Measure Target Value:
      90
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: Maintain a minimum voluntary compliance rate of 90 percent.

      Data Source and Calculation: All inspections are graded and keyed in the Food Safety Database. Each inspection is graded as either NAI (no action indicated), VAI (voluntary action indicated), or OAI (official action indicated). For the performance period the total number of all inspections is added and the total divided into the number of OAI inspections. The resulting number is the percentage of OAI inspections. The percentage of compliance is calculated by subtracting the percentage of OAI inspections from 100. These numbers can be generated from the database as needed.

    • Unit cost of performing a food inspectional activity
      Measure Class:
      Productivity
      Measure Frequency:
      Annual
      Preferred Trend:
      Maintain
      Measure Baseline Value:
      167.83
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description:

      Measure Target Value:
      167.83
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: Target is to maintain the current level of productivity.

      Data Source and Calculation: Formula is the total of the CARS expenditures for Service Areas 55401, 55402, and 55403 divided by the total number of inspectional activities performed. The number of inspectional activities is collected from inspectional, complaint and sampling information generated by Food Safety and Security Specialists and is keyed into a mainframe database. Food Safety Program data is calculated and is combined and compiled with the data generated by the Dairy Services Program and the Office of Meat and Poultry Services.

  • Strengthen food safety and security programs for citizens of the Commonwealth and promote uniformity with nationwide retail food regulatory programs.
    Objective Description
    In an attempt to provide greater consistency among its state counterparts, the United States Food and Drug Administration is recommending that state based food regulatory programs adopt uniform standards that provide a unified regulatory foundation (Food Code) as well as provide inspection and investigation protocols designed to mitigate food borne illness risk factors. Central to program standards are a regulatory staff properly trained relative to food safety issues and concerns as well as efforts to educate and train the food industry in ways that would minimize food related risks. One of the key components necessary to achieve uniform standards is to train food safety specialists in standardized methods of retail inspection.
    Alignment to Agency Goals
    • Agency Goal: Ensure a safe and wholesome food supply.
      Comment: Aligns with long term objective #7 - Protects the public's safety and security, ensuring a fair and effective system of justice and providing a prepared response to emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
    Objective Strategies
    • Complete the process necessary to adopt changes to the 2005 FDA Food Code and the 2007 Supplement by June 30, 2012.
    • Work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin the standardization process for food safety specialists through June 30, 2012.
    • Modify food safety inspection reporting forms to appropriately document the reduction in food borne illness risk factors, as identified by the FDA Code through June 30, 2012.
    Link to State Strategy
    • nothing linked
    Objective Measures
    • Number of Food Safety Specialists standardized in methods of retail inspection.
      Measure Class:
      Other
      Measure Type:
      Outcome
      Measure Frequency:
      Annual
      Preferred Trend:
      Up
      Measure Baseline Value:
      1
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description: 1 in FY09.

      Measure Target Value:
      5
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: Standardize a minimum of 5 Food Safety Specialists by 2012

      Data Source and Calculation: Data source would be the actual number of Food Safety Specialists trained. The calculation will simply involve tracking the number trained each year.

  • Ensure that Office of Dairy and Foods (ODF) personnel are prepared to respond to incidents where food may have been exposed to a biological, physical, nuclear, or chemical agent.
    Objective Description
    Provide training for Office of Dairy & Foods personnel to respond to incidents where foods may have been exposed to biological, physical, nuclear or chemical agents, and to conduct food defense exercises, at least annually, to further enhance response capabilities.
    Alignment to Agency Goals
    • Agency Goal: Provide services that prevent or minimize the impact of emergency agricultural infestations, animal disease outbreaks, foodborne illness outbreaks, and natural and manmade disasters.
      Comment: Aligns with long term objective #7 - Protects the public's safety and security, ensuring a fair and effective system of justice and providing a prepared response to emergencies and disasters of all kinds.
    Objective Strategies
    • Provide annual training updates to ODF personnel on response to nuclear incidents involving the food supply in each year of the biennium through June 30, 2012.
    • Provide additional training to ODF personnel on select chemical and biological agents that can be used to intentionally contaminate the food supply through June 30, 2012.
    • Conduct food defense exercises for ODF personnel through June 30, 2012.
    • Research and identify additional personal protective equipment that may be necessary for ODF personnel to respond to food defense incidents through June 30, 2012.
    Link to State Strategy
    • nothing linked
    Objective Measures
    • Percentage of Office of Dairy and Foods (ODF) personnel provided food defense training.
      Measure Class:
      Other
      Measure Type:
      Input
      Measure Frequency:
      Annual
      Preferred Trend:
      Up
      Measure Baseline Value:
      50
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description: Greater than 50% of ODF management and field personnel received food defense training in FY 09.

      Measure Target Value:
      100
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: 100% of ODF management and field personnel will have received food defense training during the biennium.

      Data Source and Calculation: Records are maintained in ODF for all managers and field personnel receving food defense training. Calculation is the number of staff who received food defense training divided by the number of staff eligible to receive food defense training.

    • Number of food defense exercises for ODF personnel.
      Measure Class:
      Other
      Measure Type:
      Output
      Measure Frequency:
      Annual
      Preferred Trend:
      Maintain
      Measure Baseline Value:
      1
      Date:
      6/30/2009

      Measure Baseline Description: One food defense exercise was participated in during FY 09

      Measure Target Value:
      1
      Date:
      6/30/2012

      Measure Target Description: Maintain the FY 09 baseline each year of the biennium

      Data Source and Calculation: Records are kept in ODF on defense exercises participated in. Calculation is the number of exercises participated in.


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