The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), representing the nation’s nearly 3,000 local governmental health departments, has released the guidelines for the 2021 Samuel J. Crumbine consumer protection award for excellence in food protection at the local level.  Given annually to local environmental health jurisdictions that demonstrate unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection services to their communities, this award is named for Samuel J. Crumbine, MD (1862–1954). The award encourages innovative programs and methods that reduce or eliminate the occurrence of foodborne illnesses, recognizes the importance of food protection at the local level and stimulates public interest in foodservice sanitation.

“Food safety is critical for all of us, no matter where we live. It is estimated that nearly 50 million people are sickened by food borne illnesses each year, causing preventable hospitalizations and even deaths,” says NACCHO CEO Lori Tremmel Freeman.  “Health departments, the food industry and consumers all play essential roles in aspects of food safety. The Samuel J. Crumbine Award recognizes local environmental health jurisdictions who are leaders in their approaches to food safety. By highlighting their successes, we can then share those best practices with other communities around the country to improve their food safety systems as well.”

Local government organizations with the responsibility for food protection in the U.S. and Canada are eligible to apply. These are understood to be departments or agencies that have the legal responsibility to protect the health of consumers in a county, district, city, town, township, or like jurisdiction. In addition, the U.S. Uniformed Services and the U.S. Indian Health Service area programs may apply, if they conduct a local food program. Past award winners may apply 5 years after their previous award. State, provincial, institutional, industry and private programs are not eligible for this award.

The basic criteria of an award-winning program are:

  • Sustained excellence over the preceding four to six years, as documented by specific outcomes and achievements, and evidenced by continual improvements in the basic components of a comprehensive program;
  • Demonstrated improvements in planning, managing, and evaluating a comprehensive program;
  • Innovative and effective use of program methods and problem-solving to identify and reduce risk factors that are known to cause foodborne illness; and
  • Targeted outreach; developed partnerships; and participation in forums that foster communication and information exchange among regulators, industry, and consumer representatives.
  • All local environmental health jurisdictions meeting these basic criteria are encouraged to apply, regardless of size and resources. To apply, applicants should download the guidelines, which may be found here. The deadline to submit entries for the 2021 award is March 15, 2021.

The Crumbine Award is supported by the Conference for Food Protection in cooperation with the American Academy of Sanitarians, American Public Health Association, Association of Food & Drug Officials, Food Marketing Institute, Foodservice Packaging Institute, International Association for Food Protection, National Environmental Health Association, National Restaurant Association, NSF International, UL, and NACCHO.

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