NEHA April 2024 Journal of Environmental Health



Retail Program Standards Symposium Takes Place This Month

This 3-day symposium is presented by the NEHA-FDA Retail Flexible Funding Model (RFFM) Grant Program in collabora- tion with the Conference for Food Protection and funded by FDA under award U2FFD007358. Learn more and register at Release of Updated Body Art Model Code We released our newly updated national Body Art Model Code (BAMC) in March. The code is the only comprehensive model code in the country that addresses current body art issues and pub- lic health risks. The updated version includes emerging practices related to permanent make-up, single-use equipment, temporary events, and bodily waste regulation, among other topics. Body art is defined as tattooing, piercing, branding, scarification, and cosmetic tattooing. There are now more than 26,000 body art facilities across the country—a growth rate of approximately 3% per year in the last decade. In the U.S., more than 4 in 10 people younger than 50 years have at least one tattoo and 1 in 4 have a piercing somewhere other than an earlobe. Unsafe body art practices, due in part to under-regulation, pose a potential for infection, disease transmission, cross-contamina- tion, scarring, and nerve damage. “Despite the growing popularity of body art, regulations and industry standards remain inadequate and fragmented,” said Christl Tate, a NEHA associate director. “Local health departments must develop their own body art regu- lation programs from the ground up, with few reliable resources to refer to.”

You can still register for the Retail Program Standards Symposium (RPSS) taking place on April 16–18. There is no cost to register and the event will be held virtually. The theme for this year’s RPSS is “Sus- taining the Standards,” with the specific goal of providing the infor- mation and connections jurisdictions need to maintain and grow their programs. RPSS provides support and education for retail food safety jurisdictions at state, local, tribal, and territorial levels, whether just beginning with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vol- untary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards (Retail Program Standards) or maintaining conformance with them. Here are five reasons to attend: 1. Map the road to success: Attend educational sessions to help you succeed in achieving the Retail Program Standards. 2. Get the lowdown on program sustainability and succession planning: Through discussion groups guided by subject matter experts, you can learn how to achieve conformance and design sustainability into your program for a stronger future. 3. Build your professional network: Learn from regulators and col- leagues about the benefits of the Retail Program Standards and discover how you can build meaningful networks within your state, region, and nationwide. 4. Access resources to better tell your public health story: Learn tips and tools to successfully complete a risk factor study using inspection data or the FDA data collection tool. 5. Gain intel on the Retail Program Standards: Hear colleagues from both large and small jurisdictions explain how they e—ec- tively communicated to decision-makers the reason, rationale, and return on investment of participating in the Retail Pro- gram Standards. The virtual event will also provide dedicated learning lab ses- sions from our exhibitors to demonstrate tools and services to support your food safety program’s conformance with the Retail Program Standards.

In the U.S. there is no federal law regulating body art or body art- ists; body art is regulated by state and local jurisdictions. “With no federal body art regulations, the BAMC can be used by state, tribal, local, and territorial agencies to develop, update, or enhance their body art codes,” stated Tate. “We like to think about the BAMC as a ‘Program in a Box’ that provides everything a jurisdiction needs to start up a body art inspection program.”


Volume 86 • Number 8

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