Item 94 of the 2018 Appropriation Act directs the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Department of Health to collaborate to develop a long-term plan to adequately fund the food safety and restaurant inspection programs. In developing the plan, the departments shall seek input from representatives from local governments, private sector organizations, and the public. The objective of the plan is to develop a financial strategy for the programs that will protect the public and the business sector without undue burdens. The plan shall address, but not be limited to, these factors: (1) the likelihood of additional general fund resources for this activity; (2) projected workloads, including the total number of establishments subject to inspection and by type of establishment; (3) cost containment and efficiency strategies in program management through increased reliance upon technology; (4) options to fund the programs or a portion of the programs through a flexible fee schedule that considers the number, size, and type of establishments and the time and resources to inspect such establishments; (5) the feasibility of unifying the food safety inspections currently performed by the two agencies; and (6) legislation to implement the plan. The departments shall submit the plan no later than October 1, 2018, to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees.
The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are jointly seeking comment on items that should be considered as part of this long-term plan. Comments may be posted in the Public Comment Forum on the Virginia Regulatory Townhall or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The public comment period will run from June 12, 2018, through July 13, 2018.