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Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Survey on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the Agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the PRA), Federal Agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information and to allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments on a survey entitled “Survey on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice and Retail Food Stores Facility Types (2015-2025).”

DATES:

Submit either electronic or written comments on the collection of information by February 17, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

Submit electronic comments on the collection of information to http://www.regulations.gov. Submit written comments on the collection of information to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. All comments should be identified with the docket number found in brackets in the heading of this document.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

FDA PRA Staff, Office of Operations, Food and Drug Administration, 8455 Colesville Rd., COLE-14526, Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002, PRAStaff@fda.hhs.gov.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal Agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” is defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(3) and 5 CFR 1320.3(c) and includes Agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)) requires Federal Agencies to provide a 60-day notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information before submitting the collection to OMB for approval. To comply with this requirement, FDA is publishing notice of the proposed collection of information set forth in this document.

With respect to the following collection of information, FDA invites comments on these topics: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FDA's functions, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of FDA's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology.

Survey on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Retail and Foodservice Facility Types (2015-2025) (OMB Control Number 0910-NEW)

I. Background

From 1998-2008, FDA's National Retail Food Team conducted a study to measure trends in the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors, preparation practices, and employee behaviors most commonly reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as contributing factors to foodborne illness outbreaks at the retail level. Specifically, data was collected by FDA Specialists in retail and foodservice establishments at 5-year intervals (1998, 2003, and 2008) in order to observe and document trends in the occurrence of the following foodborne illness risk factors:

  • Food from Unsafe Sources,
  • Poor Personal Hygiene,
  • Inadequate Cooking,Start Printed Page 75159
  • Improper Holding/Time and Temperature and
  • Contaminated Equipment/Cross-Contamination.

FDA developed reports summarizing the findings for each of the three data collection periods (1998, 2003, and 2008) (Refs. 1-3). Data from all three data collection periods were analyzed to detect trends in improvement or regression over time and to determine whether progress had been made toward the goal of reducing the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in selected retail and foodservice facility types (Ref. 4).

Using this 10-year survey as a foundation, in 2013-2014, FDA initiated a new study in full service and fast food restaurants. This study will span 10 years with additional data collections planned for 2017-2018 and 2021-2022. FDA is proposing to collect data in select institutional foodservice and retail food store facility types in 2015-2016. This proposed study will also span 10 years with additional data collections planned for 2019-2020 and 2023-2024.

Table 1—Description of the Facility Types Included in the Survey

Facility typeDescription
Healthcare FacilitiesHospitals and long-term care facilities foodservice operations that prepare meals for highly susceptible populations as defined as follows:
• Hospitals—A foodservice operation that provides for the nutritional needs of inpatients by preparing meals and transporting them to the patient's room and/or serving meals in a cafeteria setting (meals in the cafeteria may also be served to hospital staff and visitors).
• Long-term care facilities—A foodservice operation that prepares meals for the residents in a group care living setting such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Note: For the purposes of this study, healthcare facilities that do not prepare or serve food to a highly susceptible population, such as mental healthcare facilities, are not included in this facility type category.
Schools (K-12)Foodservice operations that have the primary function of preparing and serving meals for students in one or more grade levels from Kindergarten through Grade 12. A school foodservice may be part of a public or private institution.
Retail Food StoresSupermarkets and grocery stores that have a deli department/operation as described as follows:
• Deli department/operation—Areas in a retail food store where foods, such as luncheon meats and cheeses, are sliced for the customers and where sandwiches and salads are prepared on-site or received from a commissary in bulk containers, portioned, and displayed. Parts of deli operations may include:
• Salad bars, pizza stations, and other food bars managed by the deli department manager.
• Areas where other foods are cooked or prepared and offered for sale as ready-to-eat and are managed by the deli department manager.
Data will also be collected in the following areas of a supermarket or grocery store, if present:
• Meat and seafood department/operation—Areas in a retail food store where raw animal food products, such as beef, pork, poultry, or seafood, are cut, prepared, stored, or displayed for sale to the consumer.
• Produce department/operation—Areas in a retail food store where produce is cut, prepared, stored, or displayed for sale to the consumer. A produce operation may include salad bars or juice stations that are managed by the produce manager.

The purpose of the study is to:

  • Assist FDA with developing retail food safety initiatives and policies focused on the control of foodborne illness risk factors;
  • Identify retail food safety work plan priorities and allocate resources to enhance retail food safety nationwide;
  • Track changes in the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in retail and foodservice establishments over time; and
  • Inform recommendations to the retail and foodservice industry and state, local, tribal, and territorial regulatory professionals on reducing the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors.

The statutory basis for FDA conducting this study is derived from the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 243, Section 311(a)). Responsibility for carrying out the provisions of the Act relative to food protection was transferred to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs in 1968 (21 CFR 5.10(a)(2) and (4)). Additionally, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq) and the Economy Act (31 U.S.C. 1535) require FDA to provide assistance to other Federal, state, and local government bodies.

The objectives of the study are to:

  • Identify the foodborne illness risk factors that are in most need of priority attention during each data collection period;
  • Track trends in the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors over time;
  • Examine potential correlations between operational characteristics of food establishments and the control of foodborne illness risk factors;
  • Examine potential correlations between elements within regulatory retail food protection programs and the control of foodborne illness risk factors; and
  • Evaluate the impact of industry food safety management systems in controlling the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors.

The methodology to be used for this information collection is described as follows. In order to obtain a sufficient number of observations to conduct statistically significant analysis, FDA will conduct approximately 400 data collections in each facility type. This sample size has been calculated to provide for sufficient observations to be 95 percent confident that the compliance percentage is within 5 percent of the true compliance percentage.

A geographical information system database containing a listing of businesses throughout the United States will be used as the establishment inventory for the data collections. FDA will sample establishments from the inventory based on the descriptions in table 1. FDA does not intend to sample operations that handle only prepackaged food items or conduct low risk food preparation activities. The FDA Food Code contains a grouping of establishments by risk, based on the type of food preparation that is normally conducted within the operation (Ref. 5). The intent is to sample establishments that fall under risk categories 2 through 4.

FDA has approximately 25 Regional Retail Food Specialists (Specialists) who will serve as the data collectors for the 10-year study. The Specialists are Start Printed Page 75160geographically dispersed throughout the United States and possess technical expertise in retail food safety and a solid understanding of the operations within each of the facility types to be surveyed. The Specialists are also standardized by FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition personnel in the application and interpretation of the FDA Food Code (Ref. 5).

Sampling zones will be established which are equal to the 150 mile radius around a Specialist's home location. The sample will be selected randomly from among all eligible establishments located within these sampling zones. The Specialists are generally located in major metropolitan areas (i.e. population centers) across the contiguous United States. Population centers usually contain a large concentration of the establishments FDA intends to sample. Sampling from the 150 mile radius sampling zones around the Specialists' home locations provides three advantages to the study:

1. It provides a cross section of urban and rural areas from which to sample the eligible establishments.

2. It represents a mix of small, medium, and large regulatory entities having jurisdiction over the eligible establishments.

3. It reduces overnight travel and therefore reduces travel costs incurred by the Agency to collect data.

The sample for each data collection period will be evenly distributed among Specialists. Given that participation in the study by industry is voluntary and the status of any given randomly selected establishment is subject to change, substitute establishments will be selected for each Specialist for cases where the restaurant facility is misclassified, closed, or otherwise unavailable, unable, or unwilling to participate.

Prior to conducting the data collection, Specialists will contact the state or local jurisdiction that has regulatory responsibility for conducting retail food inspections for the selected establishment. The Specialist will verify with the jurisdiction that the facility has been properly classified for the purposes of the study and is still in operation. The Specialist will also ascertain whether the selected facility is under legal notice from the state or local regulatory authority. If the selected facility is under legal notice, the Specialist will not conduct a data collection, and a substitute establishment will be used. An invitation will be extended to the state or local regulatory authority to accompany the Specialist on the data collection visit.

A standard form will be used by the Specialists during each data collection. The form is divided into three sections: Section 1—“Establishment Information;” Section 2—“Regulatory Authority Information;” and Section 3—“Foodborne Illness Risk Factor and Food Safety Management System Assessment.” The information in Section 1—“Establishment Information” of the form will be obtained during an interview with the establishment owner or person in charge by the Specialist and will include a standard set of questions.

The information in Section 2—“Regulatory Authority Information” will be obtained during an interview with the program director of the state or local jurisdiction that has regulatory responsibility for conducting inspections for the selected establishment. Section 3 includes three parts: Part A for tabulating the Specialists' observations of the food employees' behaviors and practices in limiting contamination, proliferation, and survival of food safety hazards; Part B for assessing the food safety management being implemented by the facility; and Part C for assessing the frequency and extent of food employee hand washing. The information in Part A will be collected from the Specialists' direct observations of food employee behaviors and practices. Infrequent, nonstandard questions may be asked by the Specialists if clarification is needed on the food safety procedure or practice being observed. The information in Part B will be collected by making direct observations and asking follow up questions of facility management to obtain information on the extent to which the food establishment has developed and implemented food safety management systems. The information in Part C will be collected by making direct observations of food employee hand washing. No questions will be asked in the completion of Section 3, Part C of the form.

FDA will collect the following information associated with the establishment's identity: Establishment name, street address, city, state, zip code, county, industry segment, and facility type. The establishment identifying information is collected to ensure the data collections are not duplicative. Other information related to the nature of the operation, such as seating capacity and number of employees per shift, will also be collected. Data will be consolidated and reported in a manner that does not reveal the identity of any establishment included in the study.

FDA is working with the National Center for Food Protection and Defense to develop a Web-based platform in FoodSHIELD to collect, store, and analyze data for the Retail Risk Factor Study. Once developed, this platform will be accessible to state, local, territorial, and tribal regulatory jurisdictions to collect data relevant to their own risk factor studies. FDA is currently transitioning from the manual entry of data to the use of hand-held technology. Contingent upon the completion of the Web-based platform, FDA intends to pilot test the use of hand-held technology during its 2015-2016 risk factor study data collection in institutional foodservice and retail food store facility types, with the goal to have it fully implemented by the next the data collection in restaurant facility types that will occur in 2017-2018. When a data collector is assigned a specific establishment, he or she will conduct the data collection and enter the information into the Web-based data platform. The interface will support the manual entering of data, as well as the ability to upload a fillable PDF.

The burden for this collection of information is as follows. For each data collection, the respondents will include: (1) The person in charge of the selected facility type (whether it be a healthcare facility, school, or supermarket/grocery store); and (2) the program director (or designated individual) of the respective regulatory authority. In order to provide the sufficient number of observations needed to conduct a statistically significant analysis of the data, FDA has determined that 400 data collections will be required in each of the three facility types. Therefore, the total number of responses will be 2,400 (400 data collections × 3 facility types × 2 respondents per data collection).

The burden associated with the completion of Sections 1 and 3 of the form is specific to the persons in charge of the selected facilities. It includes the time it will take the persons in charge to accompany the data collectors during the site visit and answer the data collectors' questions. The burden related to the completion of Section 2 of the form is specific to the program directors (or designated individuals) of the respective regulatory authorities. It includes the time it will take to answer the data collectors' questions and is the same regardless of the facility type.

To calculate the estimate of the hours per response, FDA will use the average data collection duration for similar facility types during FDA's 2008 Risk Factor Study (Ref. 3) plus an extra 30 minutes (0.5 hours) for the information collection related to Section 3, Part B of Start Printed Page 75161the form. FDA estimates that it will take the persons in charge of healthcare facility types, schools, and retail food stores 150 minutes (2.5 hours), 120 minutes (2 hours), and 180 minutes (3 hours), respectively, to accompany the data collectors while they complete Sections 1 and 3 of the form. FDA estimates that it will take the program director (or designated individual) of the respective regulatory authority 30 minutes (0.5 hours) to answer the questions related to Section 2 of the form. The total burden estimate for a data collection, including both the program director's and the person in charge's responses, in healthcare facility types is 180 minutes (150+30)(3 hours), in schools is 150 minutes (120+30)(2.5 hours), and in retail food stores is 210 minutes (180+30)(3.5 hours).

Based on the number of entry refusals from the 2013-2014 Risk Factor Study in the restaurant facility types, we estimate a refusal rate of 2 percent in the institutional foodservice and retail food store facility types. The estimate of the time per non-respondent is 5 minutes (0.08 hours) for the person in charge to listen to the purpose of the visit and provide a verbal refusal of entry.

Table 2—Estimated Annual Reporting Burden 1

ActivityNumber of respondentsNumber of responses per respondentTotal annual responsesNumber of non- respondentsNumber of responses per non- respondentTotal annual non- responsesAverage burden per responseTotal hours
2015-2016 Data Collection (Healthcare Facilities)—Completion of Sections 1 and 340014002.51,000
2015-2016 Data Collection (Schools)—Completion of Sections 1 and 340014002800
2015-2016 Data Collection (Retail Food Stores)—Completion of Sections 1 and 3400140031,200
2015-2016 Data Collection-Completion of Section 2—All Facility Types1,20011,2000.5600
2017-2018 Data Collection-Entry Refusals—All Facility Types241242 0.081.92
Total Hours3,601.92
1 There are no capital costs or operating and maintenance costs associated with this collection of information.
2 (5 minutes.)

II. References

The following reference has been placed on display in the Division of Dockets Management (see ADDRESSES) and may be seen by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and are available electronically at http://regulations.gov.

1. “Report of the FDA Retail Food Program Database of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors (2000).” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​Food/​FoodSafety/​RetailFoodProtection/​FoodborneIllnessandRiskFactorReduction/​RetailFoodRiskFactorStudies/​ucm123546.pdf.

2. “FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types (2004).” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​Food/​GuidanceRegulation/​RetailFoodProtection/​FoodborneIllnessRiskFactorReduction/​UCM423850.pdf

3. “FDA Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types (2009).” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​Food/​FoodSafety/​RetailFoodProtection/​FoodborneIllnessandRiskFactorReduction/​RetailFoodRiskFactorStudies/​UCM224682.pdf.

4. FDA National Retail Food Team. “FDA Trend Analysis Report on the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Selected Institutional Foodservice, Restaurant, and Retail Food Store Facility Types (1998-2008).” Available at: http://www.fda.gov/​downloads/​Food/​FoodSafety/​RetailFoodProtection/​FoodborneIllnessandRiskFactorReduction/​RetailFoodRiskFactorStudies/​UCM224152.pdf.

5. FDA Food Code. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/​FoodCode.

Start Signature

Dated: December 8, 2014.

Leslie Kux,

Associate Commissioner for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2014-29478 Filed 12-16-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4164-01-P