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foodborne illness risk factors in retail and foodservice establishments. Standard 3 of the Program Standards requires that regulatory jurisdictions develop and use a process that groups food establishments into at least three categories based on potential and inherent food safety risks. In addition, Standard 3 requires that regulatory jurisdictions assign inspection frequency based on the risk categories to focus program resources on food operations with the greatest food safety risk. With limited resources, creating a variable inspection frequency for each category will allow inspection staff to effectively spend more time in high risk establishments that pose the greatest potential risk of causing foodborne illness.

Table 1 of this Annex provides an example of risk categories and assignment of inspection frequency based on risk. In this example, the type of food served, food preparation processes conducted, and history of compliance related to foodborne illness risk factors are used as the basis of categorizing risk. Each jurisdiction is encouraged to develop risk categories tailored to their specific program needs and resources and to reassess the risk categories on an annual basis.

Regardless of the risk category initially assigned to food establishments, regulatory jurisdictions sometimes consider whether the establishment has implemented a voluntary food safety management system like HACCP, to justify a decrease in inspection frequency. Likewise, the following factors are among many that regulatory jurisdictions sometimes use to justify an increase in inspection frequency:

  • History of non-compliance with provisions related to foodborne illness risk factors

or critical items

  • Specialized processes conducted

  • Food preparation a day in advance of service

  • Large number of people served

  • History of foodborne illness and/or complaints

  • Highly susceptible population served.

Annex 5 – Conducting Risk-based Inspections 512

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