Trend and Analysis
The Food Protection Program (FPP)’s focus is to ensure the food produced and eaten in the county is safe, through monitoring risk factors, documentation of compliance, and targeting immediate and long term issues through active managerial control. The FPP has been enrolled in the FDA’s Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards since 2011 in order to achieve national uniformity among the Nation’s retail food regulatory programs.
High priority food facilities require 3 inspections and moderate facilities require 2 inspections annually per COMAR. While FPP staff has consistently met industry standards on a per inspector basis, meeting the state mandate continues to be a challenge due to the lack of staff. The DMDH audit performed in 2015 suggested that the County should have 37 Environmental Health Specialists based on its current workload.
The addition of five Environmental Health Specialists in FY 2018 helped increase the state mandated compliance rate. The performance displayed for FY 2018 accounts for time for the hiring process and onboarding of staff which impacts overall inspection data. Moving forward, the additional staff allows the FPP to increase enforcement and education of food retailers that may not currently meet safety standards.