HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOUR STORE WAS INSPECTED BY FDA
If the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) visited your store to check for tobacco or vapor product compliance, would you even know it?
The answer is: maybe not. FDA regularly performs undercover buy inspections, often with a minor who tries to buy an age-restricted product, without revealing themselves to employees.
The store manager may not know the inspection happened unless there is a violation and FDA sends a warning letter, or pursues a civil money penalty, or a No-Tobacco Sale order for repeated violations (see the FDA fine chart here). If there aren’t any observed violations, it’s more than likely you won’t hear from FDA at all. In other words, you won’t get the news that your store was inspected and your employees successfully denied an underage purchase attempt.
There is an easy way to find out if your store or neighboring retailers have undergone an FDA compliance inspection and what those inspection results were.
FDA records the results of all inspections online at Compliance Check Inspections of Tobacco Product Retailers. It’s a public database, and it’s a good idea to check periodically.
Use the FDA Compliance Check Inspections database to determine:
Whether your store(s) have been visited by FDA for a compliance inspection.
What the result of any inspections were, including violations.
When FDA made a final decision about the inspection.
Whether a minor was involved in the inspection.
The FDA Compliance Check Inspections database compiles results and is updated monthly. The date of the most recent update is at the top of the page, so check there before entering your query in case the results you’re looking for aren’t yet entered into the database. The FDA Compliance Check database only records results for brick-and-mortar tobacco product retailers, not web-based retailers or manufacturers.
Tips For Using The Database
The database lets you search by retailer name, location, inspection result, product type purchased, FDA decision date range, or minor involvement. There is no limit to the number of search fields you can use in each inquiry.
When searching by location, be sure to enter the city displayed on the store’s postal address.
You can narrow your search results based on the product type purchased by the minor during the inspection. Products include cigars, cigarettes (single or in a package), roll-your-own tobacco, hookah tobacco, ENDS/e-liquid and more.
You can also filter your search results by whether a minor was involved in the inspection and whether the minor was able to purchase an age-restricted product.
Importantly, whenever violations occur, FDA will notify the store. However, you should periodically use this FDA Compliance Check Inspections database to determine if your store was inspected and had “No Violations.” That’s important for both you and your employees to know.
Want to know more about using the Compliance Check Inspections database? Watch this video from FDA: Using the Compliance Check Inspections of Tobacco Product Retailers Database
If you find your store has No Violations, congratulations! Take a moment to recognize your staff for good performance and consider what you’ve been doing right. Is your store following best practices? Training employees? Rewarding employees? Great work!