National Food Safety Data Exchange (NFSDX)
Coffee Talk with the
Illinois Department of Public Health – Office of Health Protection
The NFSDX Team recently had the opportunity to catch-up with Michael Crumly, the Special Projects Coordinator and NFSDX Project Lead for the Illinois Department of Public Health - Office of Health Protection.
Over the last few years, Michael has been an active participant and champion for the data exchange project and the Partnership for Food Protection (PFP) Information Technology Workgroup (IT WG). Michael was instrumental in Illinois becoming the first state to integrate with NFSDX and electronically submit inspection data.
NFSDX Team: How did you hear about NFSDX?
Michael: We learned about NFSDX through the USAFoodSafety (our current system of record) network.
NFSDX Team: Now that your state system has integrated with NFSDX, what are some of the benefits or advantages?
Michael: The system saves time for our field inspectors – now they can spend more time actually doing the inspections versus paperwork/data entry. They no longer have to enter their FDA contract inspection results into both eSAF and USAFoodSafety.
NFSDX Team: Looking ahead, is there any functionality you would like to see in NFSDX?
Michael: For our state, it would be helpful to have eSAF assignment information available (for example: past product codes, previous inspection data, current complaints, etc.). A fair amount of time is still spent by our administrative staff to capture relevant eSAF information for the inspector. Currently for every assignment, an administrative support person looks up the assignment details in eSAF and copies and pastes this information into a Word document. This document is uploaded into USAFoodSafety. It would be helpful if eSAF would produce an (exportable) assignment “Fact Sheet” that pulls all this information into a Word or Excel file. This document could be uploaded into USAFoodSafety and made readily available to the inspector.
NFSDX Team: What is your advice for states considering integration with NFSDX?
Michael: Go for it! It’s not perfect, but we are off to a very good start!
After a few months of use, I did a survey of our field inspectors and over 90% like NFSDX better than our old process (manual entry into eSAF). Also, the inspection narratives and endorsement texts are always at their fingertips, since this information is now recorded in USAFoodSafety. Some of the workload has shifted from the inspector to our administrative support (at least how we have implemented here in Illinois) because of the initial facility USAFoodSafety prep work.
NFSDX Team: Any additional support you would have liked to receive from FDA during the integration process with NFSDX?
Michael: Currently for the FY19 contract assignments, 80% have successfully transferred and 20% have failed (but a few that failed were Seafood, PC, or Sprouts related which require some manual entry because of their complexity). We are very happy with the success of the system so far and use it regularly.
The FDA NFSDX technical support has been very responsive to problems and very eager to make this project a success. It has been a pleasure working with them and having their support.
NFSDX Team: NFSDX Release 4.2 in April 2019 enables the capability to submit Seafood Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) data to FDA.
Michael: Illinois does not support submitting Seafood HACCP inspections electronically. Troubleshooting a few of the USAFoodSafety inspection transmittal failures was challenging due to limited documentation on error codes and vendor support issues. The manual data updates in eSAF was quicker than a fix from the vendor.
The NFSDX Team would like to thank Michael Crumly and his team for their hard work and support to the NFSDX project. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Illinois Department of Public Health - Office of Health Protection.
For questions or information about participating in NFSDX or joining the PFP IT WG, please contact the NFSDX Team at NFSDX_Info@fda.hhs.gov.