Bureau of Environmental Health to participate in mentorship program

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(CHCC) — The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation-Bureau of Environmental Health has been selected to participate as a mentee local health department in the National Association of City & County Health Officials’ Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards Mentorship Program.

The CHCC-BEH is one of 37 organizations selected to collaborate and partner directly with the national association through support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The BEH has been matched with a mentor — the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in Washington — which will be providing guidance, resources, and recommendations based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles. These are a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards. With peer-to-peer assistance and intensive technical support from the mentor state, the BEH aims to develop policies and procedures for risk-based inspections of retail food establishments. The overall goal is to advance the food safety inspection program and build staff capability to identify foodborne illness risk factors and public health interventions.

As part of the mentorship, BEH mentees will visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to work with experienced practitioners under their food regulatory program. At the end of the mentorship program period, a BEH assigned mentee will travel to Washington, D.C. to attend an end-of-year meeting where they will present on their mentorship experience and meet with National Association of City & County Health Officials’ representatives and other program participants to foster future collaboration and networking.

The Retail Program Standards were created by the FDA to reinforce proper sanitation and reduce factors associated with the occurrence of foodborne diseases. By adopting these standards, retail food regulatory programs can prevent foodborne illnesses and protect the health of their communities. The BEH is also working to implement FDA standards and systems which will create more uniformity in the inspection process. This will ensure that violations, corrective actions, and the compliance status of an establishment is clearly, concisely, and fairly presented to the permit holder or person in charge.

For more information about its programs, follow CHCC on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at www.chcc.gov.mp or call 234-8950.

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