About the Program

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) work in partnership to administer the NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model (RFFM) Grant Program. The program provides funding to State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial (SLTT) retail food regulatory agencies as they advance conformance with the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards). FDA is utilizing NEHA's strengths to assist SLTT retail food programs in their efforts to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors and implement and attain conformance with the Retail Program Standards.

Outcome Goals

FDA encourages all applicants to achieve the following outcomes as they seek to complete all nine of the Retail Program Standards:

  • Complete/update a self-assessment of all nine Standards (SA9) once every five years. The initial SA9 can be completed using funding from a Development (DEV) Base Grant. Repeat SA9s can be funded once every five years, using funds from either a DEV Base Grant or a Maintenance and Advancement (M&A) Base Grant.
  • Meet all Elements leading to compliance with each of the nine Standards and complete a Verification Audit for each of the nine Standards (using funding from either a DEV or an M&A Base Grant).
  • Achieve the Elements that will lead to conformance with Standard 9, using Public Health Metric funding available to:
    • complete a foodborne illness risk factor study or equivalent public health measure with a written summary of the data analysis (DEV Base Grant);
    • complete an evaluation of inspection data with a written summary of data analysis (DEV Base Grant);
    • develop and implement one or more intervention strategy(ies) based on a completed risk factor study or equivalent public health measure (DEV Base Grant);
    • complete a Public Health Metric based on the use of inspection data as the foundation for a risk factor study with a written summary of the data analysis and implementation of an intervention strategy(ies) based on the data analysis to improve public health outcomes (M&A Base Grant); or
    • complete a Public Health Metric based on the FDA Risk Factor Study model or equivalent public health measure with a written summary of the data
    • complete analysis and implementation of an intervention strategy(ies) based on the data analysis to improve public health outcomes (M&A Base Grant).
  • Use a Mentorship Optional Add-on Grant to become a Mentor and assist other jurisdictions in making progress in the Retail Program Standards or become a Mentee to learn about and progress through the Retail Program Standards.
  • Use a Training/Staff Development and Program Standards Engagement Optional Add-On Grant to advance SLTT retail food protection programs by training employees, with the goal of meeting and maintaining the requirements of Standard 2 and other Retail Program Standards.
  • Use a Special Projects Optional Add-on Grant to develop a project that works toward an Integrated FoodSafety System (IFSS), with all project deliverables and resources made available to other retail food protection programs.

Understanding the Two Types of Base Grants and the Optional Add-On Grants

The NEHA-FDA RFFM Grant Program was designed to assist the hundreds of diverse SLTT agencies with the primary responsibility of regulating the millions of retail food establishments in the United States. The RFFM offers six grants of varying amounts and complexities, with the goal of meeting each jurisdiction where they are, no matter how large, small, or resource-limited.

Findings

Investing in Retail Food Safety: Assessing the NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Grant Program’s Distribution Through an SDOH Lens

  • NEHA-FDA RFFM investments are being made in socially disadvantaged communities.
  • RFFM investments serve to enhance retail food safety and help build and sustain local environmental public health systems.
  • Research insights will assist efforts to better target jurisdictions with the greatest need.

Read this Article

Citation: Gill, G., Fahnestock, L., DeVito, R., Somaiya, C.K., Streuli, S., Ramirez, D., Baker, R., Johnstone, A., Dyjack, D., & Randhawa, M. (2023). Investing in retail food safety: Assessing the NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model Grant Program’s distribution through an SDOH lens. Journal of Food Protection, 86(12), Article 100181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfp.2023.100181

Decoding Training Needs: Developing a Needs Assessment Tool to Inform Retail Food Safety Workforce Capacity Building

  • From July through December 2022, the National Environmental Health Association conducted a national survey of retail food regulatory professionals to determine the training needs of this workforce.
  • The needs assessment survey received a total of 2,253 valid responses from jurisdictions throughout the U.S.
  • We report on survey development, approaches used to analyze the data, and introduce our forthcoming series of manuscripts on the needs assessment.

Read this Article

Citation: Baker, R., Streuli, S., Gill, G., DeFrancesco, J., Somaiya, C., DeVito, R., Dyjack, D., & Randhawa, M. (2024). Decoding training needs: Developing a needs assessment tool to inform retail food safety workforce capacity building [Editorial]. Journal of Environmental Health, 86(6): 34–38.