Food Safety and Defense

Foodborne illness in the United States is estimated to sicken 48 million people, cause more than 128,000 hospitalizations, and lead to 3,000 deaths every year. Hospitalizations due to foodborne illnesses are estimated to cost more than $3 billion dollars, and lost productivity is estimated to cost between $20 billion and $40 billion each year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that foodborne illnesses are costing the United States economy more than $15.6 billion annually. NACCHO strives to support and work with local health departments to improve food safety and prevent foodborne illness.

Environmental Health

NACCHO Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program

NACCHO is now accepting mentor and mentee applicaitons for the 2017-18 cohort.

Environmental Health

NACCHO Retail Program Standards Mentorship Program

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Flyer: Mentorship Program Overview

An overview of NACCHO's Mentorship Program, including participant benefits, eligibility, and more.

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Flyer: Mentorship Program Overview

NACCHO’s mentorship program supports local health departments pursuing the Food and Drug Administration’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The program provides opportunities for local health department staff to learn about the NACCHO Mentorship Program through active participation and training, to share experiences, tools and, and to support the ongoing effort to increase use of the standards nationwide. Local health departments seeking assistance are matched with seasoned peer mentors to help progress the work toward meeting the retail program standards while building sustained capacity within the health department. Mentors assist mentees in preparing self-assessments and verification audits and in developing improvement plans. 

NACCHO is now accepting mentee and mentor applications (through Friday, October 13, 2017 - deadline has been extended) for the 2017-2018 program cohort. Click the "NACCHO Mentorship Program" link below to learn more and to apply. 

Additional mentorship program resources:

For sharing sessions related to the Retail Program Standards, go to the mentorship program webpage

Active Managerial Control Sharing Session
This session focused on Active Managerial Control (AMC). Annex 4 of the FDA Food Code cites the common goal of regulators and industry as producing safe, quality food for customers and credits AMC over foodborne illness risk factors as the best way to accomplish this goal. The first presentation highlighted how the Fairfax County Health Department in Virginia recognizes its responsibility to promote and encourage AMC within food service operations and tackles this initiative through providing industry education, offering AMC tools and resources, and administering AMC recognition and voluntary enrollment programs. In the second presentation, Dr. Hal King provided a retail food establishment operator’s perspective on Active Managerial Control.

Cottage Foods Sharing Session
This sharing session focused on local and state food safety regulatory perspectives and concerns related to cottage foods. The presentation will highlight state cottage food regulations implemented across the nation; how one state health department has partnered with local health departments to regulate, educate, and enforce cottage food laws; and the experience of a local health department in a “food freedom” bill state.

Edible Marijuana Sharing Session
This sharing session focused on edible marijuana. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in states across the country, many public health professionals now face new health concerns and issues in their communities. The first presentation discussed on the changing state regulations and  the governmental entities involved in regulating edible marijuana. In the second presentation, the Denver Department of Environmental Health discussed the food safety-related issues surrounding edible marijuana in their community. 

Speakers included Karmen Hanson, MA, Program Director, National Conference of State Legislatures and Danica Lee, Director, Public Health Inspections Division, Department of Environmental Health, City and County of Denver.

State-Level Variation in the Regulation of Edible Cannabis Products
This webinar features a presentation on how how states regulate the ways in which edible cannabis products used for medicinal or recreational purposes are cultivated, labeled, packaged, distributed and sold, with respect to THC limits and homogeneity requirements, labeling and packaging requirements, and pesticide testing. The webinar also discusses an online survey of cannabis dispensary staff, including data pertaining to risk disclosure and labeling practices for edible products.

This webinar was held in collaboration with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and RTI International.

Food Defense Community of Practice Webinar
This webinar features a presentation from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Ohio on how they have partnered with its food retailers and the FDA to establish retail food defense in order to prevent intentional contamination of the local food supply.

Food Truck Sharing Session
This sharing session focused on local regulatory issues dealing with mobile food units. The first presentation highlighted how local regulatory agencies in southern New Jersey addressed challenges with mobile food units by forming a regional mobile task force to standardize mobile food establishment processes and applications.The second presentation focused on challenges with local regulation from the perspective of mobile food unit owners and managers and how regulators and industry can work together to ensure food safety. 

For sharing sessions on the FDA Retail Program Standards, go to the NACCHO Mentorship Program webpage. 

Raw Milk Series
This webinar series focused on the legal and regulatory issues with raw milk. The first session provided a general overview of raw milk regulation in the United States, as well as a detailed account of recent raw milk regulations and outbreaks in Utah. The second session examined health department experiences responding to outbreaks associated with raw milk and working with communities impacted by outbreaks, as well as legislating its consumption.

The Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR), of which NACCHO is a member, is a multidisciplinary working group convened to increase collaboration across the country and across relevant areas of expertise in order to reduce the burden on foodborne illness in the United States. Featured CIFOR resources include:

  • Second Edition of the CIFOR Toolkit for the Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response: The second edition of the toolkit aids in the implementation of the second edition of the Guidelines for Foodborne Outbreak Response. The toolkit furthers the ability of state and local health departments to understand the Guidelines, to conduct a self-assessment of their outbreak detection and investigation procedures, and to implement appropriate recommendations from the Guidelines.
  • Outbreaks of Undetermined Etiology (OUE) GuidelinesThe guidelines provide universal recommendations for collecting, shipping, testing, and retaining foodborne outbreak specimens when an etiology is undetermined, even early in an investigation.

Are you a leader or champion for food safety? NACCHO’s Food Safety Leaders have the opportunity to provide input on positions and advocacy efforts that help to shape policy at local health departments across the nation; they also receive updates on food safety news, policy updates, events, and call-to-action items. To subscribe to NACCHO’s Food Safety Leaders’ List, please email with your email address, name, organization/agency, and position. Learn more

Select Archived Issues

October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016

The NACCHO Food Safety Toolkit is a free, online collection of local public health tools produced by members of the public health community. Tools can be used by public health professionals and other external stakeholders to improve their work in the promotion and advancement of food safety objectives. Tools include case studies, presentations, fact sheets, drills, evaluations, protocols, templates, reports, and training materials.

NACCHO’s Food Safety Workgroup provides leadership and guidance to NACCHO, local health departments, and partner organizations regarding food safety efforts, health outcomes, and implications at the local level. Membership includes local health department officials, sanitarians, environmental health professionals, and environmental health directors who are interested in enhancing food safety policies and practices. The workgroup holds at least one in-person meeting per year (pending funding), quarterly conference calls, and works in between meetings. In addition, review of documents and participation in judging model practice applications will be required throughout the year. Appointment is for a two-year term with an option for reappointment to a second two-year term. Message Amy Chang for more information.

The following policy statements demonstrate NACCHO's commitment to food safety in local communities.