NEHA October 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

October 2022 • Journal of Environmental Health 33 want to build their capacity. Health departments might be able to identify projects that they can fund through their own budgets or that they can collaborate on with other agencies and partners. Possible Capacity Building Projects We can glean some valuable project ideas from the CY 2022 Capacity Building Add-On Grant (NEHA, 2022b). • Develop and implement a software system that supports elements of your retail food inspection program. The software should allow your agency to manage and monitor risk-based food inspection programs, as well as provide the ability to use the data to mitigate challenges and devise strategic interventions. The deployment of a fully web-based data management system for food safety inspections should enable agencies to efficiently comply with the Retail Program Standards. Furthermore, this deployment should allow multiple departments in the state or within a local area to standardize to the same platform and the Retail Program Standards. • Purchase and use innovative technologies that can facilitate continuous improvement among jurisdictions toward conformance with the Retail Program Standards. • Purchase software that can assist with the tracking of projects developed toward conformance with the Retail Program Standards that can be shared with or interfaced by other jurisdictions. • Implement comprehensive intervention strategies for reducing foodborne illness risk factors. • Implement activities that encourage collaboration among food safety stakeholders, such as food safety advisory boards, councils, or task forces. • Hire or reassign existing staŽ to specifically manage and coordinate advancement in the Retail Program Standards, including oversight of standards-focused projects to encourage collaboration with other SLTT jurisdictions that are enrolled in the Retail Program Standards. • Develop approaches that facilitate the delivery of FDA Food Code standardizations that meet the intent of criteria for Retail Program Standard 2 within multiple jurisdictions. Software Solutions Managing, monitoring, and maintaining databases and all the information your agency collects using typical computer software programs (e.g., Microsoft Excel) might not be feasible these days. Agencies might need to turn to a software system that can provide robust tools for data management to be eŽective and e”cient. While each department will have diŽerent needs and demands for a system to manage its databases and programs, there are a few capabilities to keep in mind. For example, software solutions should: • Provide total alignment with FDA Food Code language including foodborne illness risk factors and good retail practices. • Allow agencies to capture and track all training-related details as required in the Retail Program Standards and much more. • Include risk factor-based categorization and allow agencies to design risk-based inspection scheduling. • Include FDA standard compliance status (i.e., in compliance, out of compliance, NA [not applicable], NO [not observed]) and force the users to choose what is only approved for the type of violation. • Allow policy-based actions that are specific to the agency, such as corrected onsite, follow-up inspections, corrective action plans, and other similar enforcement actions. • Provide a foodborne illness tool that is fully aligned with FDA standards and that requires mandatory information gathering during complaint intake and investigations and reporting. • Provide laboratory support, analytical reports, and ad-hoc reports. Traceback and recall procedures should be easily captured in the system and allow an ondemand checklist creation for disasters and unplanned events. • Include a robust compliance and enforcement workflow tool to fully implement compliance protocols of the agency. For example, a follow-up inspection can be created automatically based on the risk factors identified during an inspection. • Allow a robust interactive platform online for the regulated industry and local residents. Inspection results and license applications and renewals (including payments) should be included in the system. It is time to consider the addition of technology solutions for your agency. Corresponding Author: Chirag Bhatt, Director, Environmental Health Regulatory AŽairs, HS GovTech Inc. Email: References Food and Drug Administration. (2022). Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. retail-food-protection/voluntary-nationalretail-food-regulatory-program-standards Grenadier, A. (2020, July 10). NACCHO new analysis: Changes in local health department workforce and financial capacity since 2008. National Association of County and City Health O”cials. https://www.naccho. org/blog/articles/naccho-new-analysischanges-in-local-health-department-work force-and-finance-capacity-since-2008 National Environmental Health Association. (2022a). NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Grant Program. https://www. National Environmental Health Association. (2022b). NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Grant guidance. https://www. National Environmental Health Association. (2022c). NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Grant Program: Grand awards. The Journal seeks guest authors for the Building Capacity column. Our goal is to provide a platform to share capacity building successes occurring across the country and within different sectors of the environmental health profession, including academia, private industry, and state, local, tribal, and territorial health agencies. Submissions will be reviewed by the NEHA technical advisors for data and technology and Journal staff for appropriate content, relevance, and adherence to submission guidelines. To learn more about the submission process and guidelines, please visit building-capacity-column. CAL L FOR SUBMI SS I ONS