The Fairfax County Health Department has launched a new voluntary enrollment program, Safety Through Actively Managing Practices (STAMP), for food service operations that meet a set of standards developed by the department.
STAMP requires that food service operations adopt a proactive approach to reduce foodborne illness risk factors through the use of Active Managerial Control (AMC). AMC includes having strong written policies, recurring employee trainings, and various monitoring activities such as the use of temperature logs. STAMP enrollees demonstrate AMC through a rigorous evaluation of their records and processes and by maintaining high performance on inspections.
The Health Department modeled the standards for STAMP after best practices outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the FDA Food Code, the national model for food service sanitation standards.
The FDA recognizes AMC practices as essential for controlling foodborne illness risk factors and encourages regulators to take an active role in assessing and facilitating the development of AMC in food service establishments. Through the STAMP Program, food establishments can partner with the Health Department to evaluate and strengthen their food safety management systems to make a positive impact on foodborne illness.
Two food service operations, Chick Fil-A and Joe’s Crab Shack in Fair Lakes, and two school pyramids, Westfield and Falls Church, are the first enrollees in the program. STAMP participants receive a certificate of enrollment, a window decal, and recognition on the Health Department’s website and Food for Thought newsletter.
“Dedication to AMC demonstrates that a food operator is meeting the standards of excellence in food safety,” says Environmental Health Director Pieter Sheehan. “We congratulate our newest participants and we hope more food operators will adopt AMC practices and enroll in STAMP.”
Food service operators can apply to the STAMP program at https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/food/awards-programs/stamp. Environmental health specialists from the Fairfax County Health Department review the application and supporting documents and make a site visit before deciding if the facility is accepted into the program. STAMP participants must also fulfill certain maintenance activities to remain enrolled in the program.
The Health Department’s Environmental Health division conducts close to 8,500 site visits at more than 3,400 restaurant and food service establishments annually in Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.
The division also reviews food establishment plans; responds to citizen complaints and inquiries; investigates foodborne illness outbreaks to determine the source and to minimize the spread of disease; provides food safety information; and holds trainings and workshops to help food service establishments achieve excellence in food safety.
For more information about the STAMP program or to learn more about food safety, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/food or call 703-246-2444, TTY 711.
703-246-8635, TTY 711