The FDA has awarded a contract to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to begin conducting FDA sponsored retail compliance inspections, according to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).
Also, renewal contracts for the state compliance inspections were awarded to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All of those NATO members operating stores in West Virginia, Illinois and Colorado will be receiving a special notice from NATO about these compliance inspections.
Generally, the inspectors are checking for the following:
1. No self-service displays of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or smokeless tobacco in a store that allows minors to be present.
2. No sales of individual cigarettes or “loosies” as they are referred to by FDA staff.
3. Store clerks request and check photo identification of customers that are under 27 years old.
4. Store clerks do not sell tobacco products to an underage minor accompanying the inspector.
To date, more than 19,000 retail stores have been inspected and approximately 97% of the stores have been successful in passing the inspections. Retailers should note that these state commissioned inspectors generally do not announce themselves to store personnel and most of the time store personnel will not be aware that the inspectors were even in the store.
Former FDA Inspector Seth Mailhot will offer retailers a step-by-step guide to complying with FDA tobacco inspection at the upcoming National Advisory Group Conference (NAG) in Savannah, Ga. For conference information or to register, visit www.nagconvenience.com.