In January 2016, FSIS launched a multi-year nationwide pilot project to assess whether retail delicatessens are using the recommendations in the Retail Lm Guidance. FSIS tracked progress for this pilot project in the fiscal year (FY) 2021 FSIS Annual Plan and the FY 2017-2021 FSIS Strategic Plan.
As of September 30, 2021, FSIS discontinued its retail Lm surveillance because data analysis has shown that retailers have consistently followed a high percentage of the recommendations. Moving forward, FSIS will continue steps to educate the industry on its Retail Lm Guidance and associated best practices. FSIS intends to broaden its reach by partnering with retail trade associations and state regulatory authorities to assist in the distribution of educational materials for this initiative.
Since the pilot project was launched, FSIS investigators completed a total of 7,114 questionnaires in retail delis to determine the adoption rate of the recommendations. In the fourth quarter of FY 2021, FSIS reviewed 155 questionnaires completed by investigators in retail delis. The agency exceeded its target with the retailers following 93% of the 33 recommendations over the previous 12 months (target 92%).
Additionally, under its strategic and annual plans, FSIS is tracking whether the retail delis assessed are following the top eight recommendations from the FSIS Retail Lm Guidance, which are listed on pages 1-2 of the FSIS Directive 10.310.1- Pilot Project: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens.
In the fourth quarter of FY 2021, FSIS reviewed 151 questionnaires conducted by investigators in which all eight recommendations could be assessed. The agency exceeded its annual target with 75% retailers following all eight of the most important guidelines (target 64%). These results are similar to those of last fiscal year and quarter, with FSIS meeting or exceeding its targets for both measures.