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Inspection References
Investigations Operations Manual 2006
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Updated: 2008-02-06




This subchapter will help you to locate regulatory references and FDA staff.


The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act),the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act of 2002 (MDUFMA), the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, (FDAMA), the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH), the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA), national emergencies and initiatives, and other forces continue to impact FDA inspectional operations as changes in law, regulation, guidance and internal procedures issue. As ICH members (Japan, U.S. and European Union) reach consensus agreements, ICH guidelines are adopted by all three governments. In the United States, they may replace outstanding FDA guidance in the medical device, human and animal drug areas. Unless exempted, the Bioterrorism Act and implementing regulations require most domestic food facilities and foreign food facilities who export to the U.S. to register as of December 12, 2003; FDA began accepting registrations on October 16, 2003. The Bioterrorism Act requires that FDA receive prior notice of food imported into the United States, beginning on December 12, 2003. The 2002 MDUFMA authorizes FDA to charge user fees for medical device premarket review; it allows third party medical device inspections, sets out new regulatory requirements for single-use devices, and directs FDA to establish the Office of Combination Products. FDA drug GMP initiative and Process Analytical Technology (PAT) efforts are underway.

In conducting inspections and investigations according to changing policies, in order to be effective, FDA regulators must understand the difference between regulatory requirements and guidance.

Laws or statutes, enacted by Congress, and regulations or rules, promulgated by Federal agencies, contain regulatory requirements.

FDA's guidance documents, on the other hand, have a different legal status and serve purposes different from laws and regulations. The purposes of guidance documents are to:

  1. Provide assistance to the regulated industry by clarifying requirements that have been imposed by Congress or issued in regulations by FDA, and by explaining how industry may comply with those statutory and regulatory requirements, and
  2. Provide specific review and enforcement approaches to help ensure that FDA's employees implement the agency's mandate in an effective, fair, and consistent manner.

The term "guidance documents" includes documents prepared for FDA staff, applicants/sponsors, and the public that:

  1. relate to the processing, content, and evaluation/approval of submissions;
  2. relate to the design, production, manufacturing, and testing of regulated products;
  3. describe the agency's policy and regulatory approach to an issue; or
  4. establish inspection and enforcement policies and procedures.

Guidance documents do not include documents relating to internal FDA procedures, agency reports, general information documents provided to consumers, speeches, journal articles and editorials, media interviews, press materials, warning letters, or other communications directed to individual persons or firms. FDA procedures issued for staff to follow, such as the IOM, are internal procedures intended to direct your activities and you are to follow them.

Guidance documents for industry do not establish legally enforceable rights or responsibilities and are not legally binding on the public or the agency. Rather, they explain how the agency believes the statutes and regulations apply to certain regulated activities. For a more detailed explanation of the background to the development, issuance and use of guidance documents see the preamble to the February 27, 1997 Federal Register Volume 62 Number 39. To access 21 CFR 10.115 Good Guidance Practices, see Also see to access the CDRH Manual for the Good Guidance Practices (GGP) Regulation - Final Guidance for FDA Staff (2/01). For a comprehensive list of FDA current guidance documents, see

The Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and Notices of federal agencies and organizations as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential documents. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive Departments and agencies of the Federal Government. Most regulations enforced by FDA are located in Title 21 of the CFR. For a listing of all titles in the U.S Code, see


ORA's Investigator certification program provides a focused training plan for the ongoing professional development of agency investigators. The program is designed to address the specific needs of agency District Offices by providing a structured mechanism for investigators to maintain the required levels of competency.

Performance certification promotes uniformity in investigator training and experience. The program is designed to promote the efficient use of (ORA) training resources. Investigators who complete the program will be formally recognized as meeting the competencies required at the specific certification level achieved.

Additional information on ORA's Investigator Certification program, including procedure documents and forms for certification in specific commodity areas, is available Begin Changed Texton ORA U on DHRD's intranet siteEnd Changed Text.

In addition to managing the investigator certification program through ORAU, the Division of Human Resource Development (DHRD) (HFC-60) manages and coordinates with Regions and Districts, the ORA staff's overall ongoing professional development training through in person and web-based courses, broadcasts, and video conferences. For more information on available training on the ORA Begin Changed TextU, see DHRD's intranet siteEnd Changed Text. - CONTACTING FDA EMPLOYEES

Easily finding colleagues you need to contact can make your work life more productive. See IOM 1.9. the organization of FDA offices, including a directory of ORA field offices and program managers. The Office of Regulatory Affairs organizational directory (blue pages) is available in electronic format. See ORA Directory. At the end of the blue pages, find a listing of District program monitors. For FDA Center staff directories:


CBER - See

CDRH - See For a list of resource staff by topic of specialization in the Division of Small Manufacturers, Consumer and International Affairs, see

CVM - See

CDER - See For a list of resource staff by topic of specialization, in the CDER Division of Manufacturing and Product Quality, (HFD-320) see

To obtain contact information for an FDA employee in your e-mail directory, find the name, then click on "properties" for telephone number and office designation. If the telephone number listed is inaccurate for an FDA employee you wish to contact, call the FDA Personnel Locator at telephone number (301) 443-1544 for an update.

You may also search the Department of Health and Human Services electronic employee directory, which includes FDA and all other HHS staff. See See IOM Chapter 3 for other Federal agency and State contact information, or to check the Directory of State and Local Officials on the FDA web site, see - INTERNET AND INTRANET

The FDA Internet Web site at provides access to FDA references in electronic format: laws, regulations, policy, guidance, correspondence, reports and other publications. From the FDA home page link to laws enforced by FDA and related statutes at From there you can access the Code of Federal Regulations, the Federal Register, and FDA Manuals and Publications. Under the heading "FDA Manuals and Publications" is a link to a comprehensive list of current FDA guidance documents at

Two features will facilitate your navigation of the FDA website, For the FDA "Website Index", see To access the FDA "Website Map", see

Subscribe to various FDA e-mail lists for updates on web postings. See

Begin Changed TextFDA libraries are accessible on the FDA intranet siteEnd Changed Text. - FDA ON DISK

The FDA Gold Disk is an electronic source of regulatory references maintained on CD-ROM by the Office of Enforcement, Division of Compliance Information and Quality Assurance (HFC-240) Scott Lewis 781-596-7748. To order a Gold Disk, contact San Francisco District, Gwen Wong, 510-337-6890. FDA personnel who do not have access to an FDA network server can use the Gold Disk in an off-line mode. It may also be available on your local district server. Check with your computer support personnel. The FDA gold disk is a convenient source of FDA regulatory references in electronic format when Internet access is not available. It contains, for example, the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, Title 21 CFR, Compliance Policy Guides, Enforcement Reports, Talk Papers, Import Alerts, Investigations Operations Manual, Regulatory Procedures Manual, selected Compliance Programs, the Food Code, and listings of approved drug products. The Gold Disk is not releasable under FOI and is not available to the public. It is for FDA use only. The subset of the Gold Disk available to state and local agencies (but not releasable under FOI) is the Eureka Disk. To order this, contact Begin Changed TextChristina Segura-RamosEnd Changed Text in the ORA Division of Federal-State Relations (DFSR) at 301-827-Begin Changed Text2901End Changed Text. - ELECTRONIC-FAX INFORMATION SYSTEMS

The FDA Medical Devices fax information system issues documents twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week on request to (800) 899-0381. Follow the directions by the automated attendant to receive a faxed list of references and their order numbers. Next, request specific documents by number as indicated on the index.

Biologics, Human/Animal Drugs and Foods do not have fax information systems. - FDA/ORA MANUALS AND REPORTS

ORA headquarters and the OC Office of Information Resources Management support a change to electronic manuals, not paper manuals, because electronic manuals are easier to issue, revise and distribute. As part of the ORA Quality Management System, ORA HQ supports electronic manual dissemination through developing Intranet master lists or indices for directives used by ORA. Begin Changed TextSee the FDA Intranet for more informationEnd Changed Text. During transition from paper to electronic manuals, a limited selection and number of paper manuals will be available as follows:

  1. Compliance Policy Guides (CPGs): A limited number of 2000 paper manuals available by contacting OE/DCP at (240) 632-6860;
  2. Compliance Program Guidance Manual (CPGM): No paper manuals;
  3. Data Codes Manual: No paper manuals; for electronic lists of program assignment codes and establishment type codes contact ORM/Division of Program Evaluation and Management
  4. Enforcement Reports: No paper reports;
  5. Field Management Directives (FMDs) - No paper manual;
  6. Guide to International Inspections and Travel - For paper manuals contact ORA/DFI 301-827-5653;
  7. Inspection Technical Guides - No paper manuals;
  8. International Cooperative Agreements Manual - No paper manuals;
  9. Investigations Operations Manual(IOM) - Current edition paper manuals available by contacting Alan Gion, ORA/ORO/Division of Field Investigations at (301) 827-5649.
  10. Laboratory Procedures Manual (LPM) - No paper manuals;
  11. Laboratory Information Bulletins (LIB) - No paper copies;
  12. Regulatory Procedures Manual (RPM) - No paper copies;
  13. Recalls and Safety Alerts - No paper copies;
  14. Staff Manual Guide: No paper manuals;
  15. State and Federal Cooperative Agreements: No paper copies. - FORMS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

The FDA on line Public Forms Catalog contains a list of FDA forms and the information necessary to order them.

Order paper copies of FDA forms from the USDA Consolidated Forms and Publications Distribution Center, Beltsville Service Center at 6351 Ammendale Road in Beltsville, MD 20705. Phone or fax orders will not be accepted. Forms may be ordered electronically. To obtain a customer number necessary to order forms electronically, or for other questions concerning FDA forms, contact:

FDA/Office of the Commissioner/Office of Management/ Office of Management and Programs/Division of Management Systems/Paperwork Reduction and Records Branch

Elizabeth Sands, Forms Management Officer, (HFA-250)

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 6A-22

Rockville, MD 20857


FAX 301-594-0060

Or e-mail to or

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Program Support Center, 16071 Industrial Drive, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 also maintains a limited selection of FDA forms and publications.  To search their catalog, see For questions, contact Danny Saum at PSC at 301-443-7634.

The INTRANET FDA's Electronic Forms Catalog is another resource. Internal forms related to field operations are located at that site. For example, you can find seals, affidavits, Form FDA 482 Notice of Inspection, and many other forms on which FDA documents its activities related to investigations, inspections and sample collection and analysis. Forms are organized alphabetically as well as by form number. - REGULATORY REFERENCES AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC

The general public must make a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to obtain certain FDA documents requiring redaction. See IOM 1.4.4 (Freedom of Information Act) and IOM 1.4.5 (internal Documents) for additional information on FOIA. For instructions to the public on how to file an FOIA request, see

Many FDA documents are available to the public without an FOIA request. To obtain forms, direct the public to the FDA Public Use Forms web page. The public can purchase paper editions of various agency manuals, such as the Food Code and Compliance Program Manuals if ordered by NTIS item number from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). Instruct the person seeking a publication to first locate the NTIS item number by calling the NTIS sales department at 800-553-6847. The next step is to enter the NTIS item number in the search box at the NTIS website at, and follow directions on ordering the publication. For additional information on NTIS publications, direct the public to contact:

National Technical Information Service

Technology Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

Springfield, VA 22161

Order Desk: 703-605-6585

Fax: 703-605-6900

The public may also obtain federal publications from the online U.S. Government Bookstore.

The public may also obtain FDA documents from the CDRH automated FAX information service listed in section of Subchapter 1.10.2.  FDA references are also available to the public in electronic format from the FDA website. From the FDA homepage, link to special information for consumers, industry, health professionals, patients, state and local officials. For example, direct industry to the FDA industry web page.

Those regulated by FDA may contact their ORA Regional Small Business Representative (SBR) for an explanation of how FDA requirements apply to specific circumstances. SBRs also locate relevant references, make referrals, conduct or participate in workshops and conferences, or make non-regulatory audits on request. See for a list of SBRs and the regions they serve.

Direct industry inquiries in accordance with District policy either to appropriate District personnel, to the ORA Small Business Representative for your region, to an FDA industry assistance office or the Center Ombudsman, or to the Office of the Commissioner. In CDRH, the Division of Manufacturers, International and Consumer Affairs (DSMICA) staff specializes in industry assistance. For FDA drug manufacturing queries, a list of resource staff in the CDER Division of Manufacturing and Product Quality, (HFD-320) identifies each staff member by area of knowledge. Refer questions about post approval changes to the CDER post approval changes e-mail box at Refer questions about good clinical practice requirements to the FDA's GCP staff.

Refer consumer inquiries to the appropriate District Public Affairs Specialist.

Try to refer appropriately to make your government work more effectively for all concerned. - ACRONYMS

To access explanations for some of the hundreds of acronyms in FDA references, try the following:

  1. CDER Acronym list compiled by the CDER Division of Biometrics III
  2. CVM Related Acronyms and Abbreviations 
  3. CFSAN Abbreviations and Acronyms from the CFSAN Risk Analysis Working Group Report "Initiation and Conduct of All Major Risk Assessments within a Risk Analysis Framework" (3/02)
  4. Draft Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment report: Abbreviations and Acronyms
  5. ORA Glossary of Computerized System and Software Development Terminology
  6. Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan, FY 2000 Final Performance Plan, and FY 1999 Performance Report Glossary of Acronyms
  7. Fiscal Year 2004 Annual Performance Plan, FY2003 Revised Performance Plan, FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan see Appendix F Glossary of Acronyms at


Information including product databases, inspection guides, industry guidance, and regulatory references are available by product category on-line at Begin Changed TextDFI's intranet siteEnd Changed Text.

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