MASON CITY – The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health was recently awarded a five-year, nearly $350,000 grant from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance their food safety program in three key areas.
1. Achievement of all nine Program Standards.
2. Advance Active Managerial Control
3. Provide Food Safety Education
The project’s goal is to develop, implement and continuously improve the infrastructure and effectiveness of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health’s retail food safety program using the Standards to ensure food safety. Since 1997, the FDA has promoted the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards, which serve as a guide and measurement for how well public health agencies are performing their food safety programs. It also provides a way to recognize those programs that meet these Standards and have raised the bar for inspection agencies . In 2012, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health enrolled in the Standards program and has made significant strides in meeting these standards by achieving four of the nine Standards.
Over the project period, the Health Department will also work closely with local food businesses to promote active managerial control principles and methods, by assisting facility managers and owners with integrating food safety within their businesses. By working with community partners, food education classes will be offered to people preparing to enter the food industry and those already involved in retail food service.
“This is an extremely exciting opportunity for us and our food business partners,” said Brian Hanft, Environmental Health Services Manager, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “Food safety is extremely important. We take our role in food safety very seriously, and look forward to the continued improvement in our food safety program in the coming years.”
The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health was one of more than 70 applicants, and one of 23 organizations in the U.S. to be awarded this grant.