By: Brad Honold and Wanda Lenger
The Feb 21st publication of the AFDO e-Newsletter previewed the “District and State Recall Cooperative Plan” – a PFP Workgroup project - and highlighted the group’s announced objectives. Our dedicated workgroup members have made tremendous strides in creating a best practice document, which if utilized by FDA, State and local governments, should enhance communication and sharing of recall information and will promote faster removal of adulterated and unsafe products from the market.
The Workgroup consists of FDA and State regulatory staff involved in recall efforts. Ideas presented have been diligently reviewed and analyzed through workgroup discussions, personal outreach to co-workers, and from survey data collected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations (OEIO Recalls) in 2013 from FDA district and State respondents. Each state has different arrangements with local government regulatory partners. The focus of this project has been to highlight the broader Recall process components. This will all filter down to the local level through the existing regulatory structures currently in place.
At a recent PFP-sponsored face to face meeting, the workgroup representatives drafted 22 best practice statements drawn from the efforts of the sub-workgroups. These best practice statements cover a diverse range of ideas and practices. A few examples follow:
1) Create a Directory of Recall Contacts – Use the AFDO (Association of Food and Drug Officials) Directory of Local and State Officials (DLSO) searchable database to identify state and FDA contacts for recalls.
2) Sharing of Information - Recommend means by which States and FDA collect and share information during recall situations or joint inspections more readily. (Create or enhance MOU’s)
3) Sharing and Communication - Recommend initiating quarterly conference calls with the States, FDA State Liaisons and OEIO Recalls to facilitate communication, cooperation, and training.
4) Sharing and Communication – Recommend initiating routine conference calls with the States, FDA State Liaisons, and local FDA District Recall Coordinators to enhance relationships and refine sharing and communication procedures.
5) Sharing of Information - Recommend changes to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry (RFR) to obtain/require submission of customer lists through amended reports and to enhance and standardize information collected via the RFR.
6) Commissioning – Recommend State recall staff be commissioned in order to facilitate and enhance sharing of recall information during outbreaks and Class I recalls.
All of the Best Practice statements will be shared by the PFP as soon as the work is completed and approved by the PFP Governing Council. If our best practice recommendations are further discussed and adopted by FDA, State, and Local governments, we believe we will be able to move in a positive direction to better achieve our common goal of promoting and protecting public health in our current IFSS (Integrated Food Safety System) environment.
Thanks to the knowledge, expertise, and dedication of the participating workgroup members, we will develop, finalize, and present a best practices document on recalls to the PFP Governing Council by August 2014. This document will also be discussed at the August 50 State meeting.
Wanda Lenger, FDA, OEIO Recalls
Brad Honold, MDA (Minnesota Department of Agriculture)
Julianne McCullough, FDA
Ryan Cates, FDA
Carl Huffman, FDA
Terri McConnell, FDA