USDA calls food safety education meeting for early October

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is holding a virtual public meeting on Oct. 6 to discuss the state of consumer food safety education, current research, and future studies and engagement to close the gap between food safety messages and consumer action.

“USDA has been a leader in consumer education for years, and now we have the evidence to show how and why our food safety messages are critical,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears. “By using research to continually improve food safety education, based on empirical data instead of assumptions, we can change consumer behavior and decrease foodborne illness nationally.”

The public meeting, “Food Safety: Consumer Outreach and Education Today and for the Future,” is set for noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 6. It is scheduled to feature presentations from food safety experts on their current and upcoming work and will highlight partnerships that have set the stage for the continued improvement of consumer food safety. Participants must register online to attend, and can indicate if they would like to speak at the meeting when they register.

FSIS invites those interested in public health and advancing food safety to comment in writing on activities and research that promote safe consumer food handling. Interested parties should submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov, docket number FSIS-2020-0026, by Oct. 9. Those who want their comments to be considered for the public comment period of the meeting, should submit them on or before Sept. 18.

Food safety experts know that following the four steps to food safety, “Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill,” is easier said than done. The FSIS is conducting groundbreaking research to understand how consumers truly handle food in the home, with research partners RTI International and North Carolina State University. By observing consumers as they prepare meals and conducting interviews, focus groups, and web surveys, FSIS uses data to redesign and reimagine food safety outreach programs.

Learn more about FSIS food safety consumer education here.

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