Ensuring safe food is an important public health priority for our nation. For years, regulatory and industry food safety programs have focused on reducing the incidence of foodborne illness associated with retail food establishments such as restaurants, food stores and institutional kitchens. Over the last 16 years, FDA has sought to measure progress made in reducing the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in retail food establishments, including:

  • Poor Personal Hygiene
  • Improper Holding Temperatures/Time and Temperature
  • Inadequate Cooking
  • Contamination Equipment/Protecting Food from Contamination
  • Unsafe Food Sources

Retail Food Risk Factor Studies provide information that can be used by federal, state, local, and tribal agencies to:

  • Formulate retail food safety policies and initiatives;
  • Establish priorities and allocate resources to enhance the effectiveness of retail food protection programs;
  • Track changes in the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in retail and foodservice establishments over time; and
  • Recommend best practices and target intervention strategies to reduce foodborne illness risk factors.

Learning from our previous ten-year retail food risk factor study, in 2014 FDA began using a new study protocol and data collection tool to gather information about risk factor control at retail. The study protocol and data collection tool are available to jurisdictions interested in conducting their own risk factor studies. These documents are available on the FoodSHIELD web site.

The reports from FDA’s previous retail food risk factor studies, as well as presentations regarding the design and methodology used, are available on FDA’s website. A link to that site can be found under the “History” tab on this web page.