FDA Adds West Virginia to Inspections

Retail compliance inspections to begin in West Virgina; contracts renewed in Illinois and Colorado

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

This past week, the FDA announced that a contract was awarded to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to begin conducting FDA-sponsored retail compliance inspections. 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.

The  FDA Web page lists the 27 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, that are currently under contract to perform FDA compliance inspections.