Leaderboard

Welcome to the Leader Board! Here we feature short articles from people in the food safety community. The articles focus on the importance of consumer education and its role in a system of prevention and other topics of interest to people who educate consumers on safe food handling.

This online community showcases those who are working to educate others about the importance of safe food handling to good health.

On behalf of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, thank you for visiting Team Food Safety, and I encourage you to return as we feature new articles from leaders in food safety. You can comment below to join in on the discussion.

- Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education.

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, Drexel University

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan, Drexel University

Dr. Jennifer Quinlan is Associate Professor, Nutrition Sciences Department at Drexel University. Dr. Quinlan’s research focuses on identifying food safety risks for minority and low income populations. Her work uses focus groups and surveys to explore differences in handling of food by consumers from different demographic groups. Through her research, she identified the common practice of incorrectly washing raw poultry by consumers of all demographics which lead to the “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” campaign. The focus group research behind “Don’t Wash Your Chicken” was published in the Journal of Food Protection and the research regarding the larger survey is under peer review currently.

Listen to the full recording of the BAC Fighter Knowledge Exchange conference call with Dr.Quinlan and Dr. Bruhn. 

Q:  Tell me about the methods you used in your research that led to the discovery that consumers of ALL demographics are still rinsing their chicken? How was the study funded?

A: Our formative research regarding egg and poultry handling by consumers utilized a combination of focus groups and surveys.  We conducted a total of 9 focus groups with consumers of different demographics to discuss practices with these consumers in a more “casual” and “exploratory” setting.  Focus groups are a great tool because they allow researchers to get feedback from participants that they don’t ask about directly.  This allows themes and practices to emerge that researchers may not be aware of to even ask about.  This is essentially what happened with our focus groups.  Participants expressed to us unique pork and poultry purchasing and handling practices that we hadn’t anticipated, one of these was the apparently widespread nature of washing raw poultry among participants.  A limitation of focus groups is that because findings are based on such a small number of people it can’t be assumed that they can be extrapolated to a larger population.  For this reason we conducted a larger telephone survey among approximately 400 consumers in the Philadelphia area.  This survey included questions related to the unique practices we had identified in the focus groups including practices like washing raw poultry, cooking a turkey overnight and purchasing live birds. 

Dr. Christine M. Bruhn, University of California at Davis

Dr. Christine M. Bruhn, University of California at Davis

Dr. Christine M. Bruhn is a Specialist in Cooperative Extension at University of California at Davis. Dr. Bruhn investigates consumer food handling practices, quantifies food safety concerns, explores consumer information needs, and identifies preferred sources of information. Her work investigates consumer responses to information about issues in the news that impact health and safety. Most recently, Dr. Bruhn conducted observational research focusing on consumer preparation of chicken and a salad at home. Her work will be published in the September/October issue of Food Protection Trends. 

Listen to the full recording of the BAC Fighter Knowledge Exchange conference call with Dr.Quinlan and Dr. Bruhn.

Q: You’ve just published the results of your observational study of people preparing chicken and salad at home.  How can the listeners access your research findings?

A: The manuscript will be in the September/October issue of Food Protection Trends published by the International Association for Food Protection. The web page is foodprotection.org.  Additionally Jennifer and I will present as part of a symposium at the association’s annual meeting in early August.

Expertise of the Collective

-Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education

Expertise of the Collective

No other factor is as critical to the Partnership for Food Safety Education’s commitment to excellence as is structuring opportunities for input and engagement of our public and private sector stakeholders.

The Partnership’s process for content development relies heavily on collaborative input to ensure accuracy, a strong basis in science, and comprehension by consumers. 

The Partnership engages people in a way that allows for confirming facts, as well as for gathering experiences and challenges related to communicating with the public on health and food safety topics.

As we work now on a refreshed effort to communicate with consumers about safe handling of fresh produce, the Partnership has structured a process that allowed us to hear from food safety educators in the field, from scientists, and from communications and consumer affairs professionals.  This input is forming our approach to developing a new outreach campaign.

An online survey helped us learn how 550 BAC Fighters have used the Six Steps to Safer Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and their use of various media in getting out their messages.  Convenings of science experts, communications experts and retailers have led to specific recommendations for updates to basic safe handling practices and identified how important information might be made more accessible to consumers.

Collaboration among stakeholders from inside and outside government was the basis of the Partnership’s creation in 1997, and remains fundamental to its mission.

If you are interested in getting involved in efforts to protect consumers of all ages from foodborne illness please contact us at fightbac.org. 

Kathy Means, Produce Marketing Association

Kathy Means, Produce Marketing Association

When it comes to most produce items, there is no kill step for food safety. We enjoy raw produce and it’s good for us. All the more reason it has to be handled safely from field to fork. The industry and government have their roles to play, and the Produce Marketing Association is committed to those efforts. We work with government on food safety rules that accomplish the goals in ways that make sense for businesses.

We offer training to small growers (pathogens don’t respect company size, borders, or distance to market). We helped found and continue to support the Center for Produce Safety, which is focused exclusively on providing the produce industry and government with open access to the actionable information needed to continually enhance the safety of produce. We offer staff and member expertise on produce safety.

Recognizing Meaningful Work

-Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education

Recognizing Meaningful Work

After two years of hard work where our Partners have helped to refine and advance the value proposition for consumer food safety education, and where Partners have come together to develop and launch significant new campaigns for consumers, it was great to see in September the public recognition from the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, for these efforts.

The Food Safe Families campaign and group leader, Robert Tuverson were recognized with a Secretary's Award citing significant achievement in advancing USDA's public health mission through the development of the multimedia public service campaign to help families prevent food poisoning. The Partnership for Food Safety Education was also recognized for its role in the Food Safe Families campaign effort.

Also the USDA Food and Nutrition Service food safety staff was recognized for managing the Produce Safety University which disseminates training for school nutrition professionals on handling fresh produce safely, resulting in increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables for children.

Let's make sure to recognize the work of many more volunteers and professionals who work to educate consumers about the importance of safe food handling to good health. Please become active in helping to develop stories for the Team Food Safety Field Report blog. If you haven't checked it out, please do so and consider submitting a short report highlighting education and outreach being done in your community or through your organization.

Leslie Sarasin, Food Marketing Institute President, Partnership Board Chairwoman

Leslie Sarasin, Food Marketing Institute President, Partnership Board Chairwoman

In early 2010, following substantial discussion with our current Contributing Partners and Federal liaisons, the Partnership Board of Directors launched a needs analysis process designed to identify areas where the Partnership could add the most value in efforts to educate the public about safe food handling. When we started we didn't have the resources to "go national" with our conversation on the future of the Partnership.

This changed when our partners in the FDA, in September, 2010, supported the Partnership with a grant that allowed us to engage a great many more stakeholders and also to contract for a multi-year resource development plan so we could grow the Partnership's operational capacity commensurate with its national mission.

Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru and Editor of the Lempert Report

Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru and Editor of the Lempert Report

There is little doubt in my mind the role that food retailers must accept in educating shoppers about food safety. These days, if we are to rebuild confidence in the safety of our food supply, we must educate and empower shoppers.

Educating shoppers as to the reasons for a recall in a timely manner is critical; as well as explaining as best we can what happened. I have received hundreds of emails from our readers who are perplexed and confused about just how fenugreek seeds that were imported from Egypt two years prior, could carry the deadly bacteria. Consumers today want to know more and understand where our foods come from and how they are produced.

Marsha Lockard, NEAFCS President

Marsha Lockard, NEAFCS President

I was honored to represent the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) at the Partnership for Food Safety Education summit in Chicago the first part of March. The summit was a wonderful opportunity to network with other professionals who are engaged in food safety education.

As the president of NEAFCS, I represent over 2,000 extension educators throughout the United States who are actively engaged in consumer education. Food safety education has always been a priority for Extension, and as employees of the national land grant universities our mission is provide up to date researched based information to consumers.

As a national association, we compile the impact of our educators programming nationwide and have been consolidating that data into national impact statements that illustrate the breath of our educational efforts. Below are some highlights from a sample of the current programs sponsored by Extension:

Food Handler Education Program – ServSafe food safety training and certification program

Nancy Donley, STOP Foodborne Illness

Nancy Donley, STOP Foodborne Illness

Nancy Donley is recognized as a leading proponent of improvement in both government and private food safety efforts. Nancy works in a volunteer capacity for STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly S.T.O.P.—Safe Tables Our Priority) and has served as its president for over 10 years. Nancy serves on the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection.

As the President of STOP Foodborne Illness, a national, grassroots, non-profit public health organization whose mission is to prevent illness and death from pathogens in the food supply, my work involves building awareness of foodborne risk and its management. Our members include families who have suffered illness and loss from a broad spectrum of food types. I personally became involved in the issue of food safety after the death of my 6-year-old son, Alex, from E. coli O157:H7 poisoning from contaminated meat in 1993.

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen is the former Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. She oversees policies and programs at the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Prior to her appointment as Under Secretary in August 2010, she served as USDA’s Chief Medical Officer, advising on a range of issues such as food safety, nutrition, and zoonotic diseases.

To me, there is no more fundamental function of government than to keep its people safe from harm. At the U.S. Department of Agriculture, my job in the Office of Food Safety is to protect the health of more than 300 million Americans through a strong food safety system. I have been personally charged by Secretary Vilsack to look at every possible way to reduce foodborne illness and I am looking forward to working with all of you in executing this critical mission.

Prevention has to be the foundation of everything we do. With that as a foundation, we need to activate the most powerful tools at our disposal, including quality data. We also need to engage and involve people because they are the reason all of this matters.

USDA is committed to a proactive approach to food safety. We are building on the tools we have, and identifying additional ones we need to protect consumers. This includes quick, accurate information around recalls and outbreaks. It also means educating consumers about safe food handling.

Jolie Bain Pillsbury PhD, President of Sherbrooke Consulting, Inc.

Jolie Bain Pillsbury PhD, President of Sherbrooke Consulting, Inc.

A performance partnership is a collaboration of high performing individuals or organizations that come together to accelerate their achievements or achieve a greater, more global, long term impact. Key to a strong performance partnership is a sense of urgency to achieve a result, and capable partners who align their actions to have greater impact. The folks who have been committed to food safety education for years certainly meet this definition!

You are highly skilled, effective organizations and individuals who are doing great work in the arena of food safety. Many of you focus on multiple aspect of food safety—policy, standards, education and outreach, etc. A performance partnership will allow you to bring your successful strategies together to achieve a widespread result: reducing incidence of foodborne infections.

Stan Hazan, NSF International

Stan Hazan, NSF International

NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit, public health and safety organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Originally formed as the National Sanitation Foundation in 1944 at the University of Michigan School of Public Health to develop consensus on food equipment sanitation standards, NSF has grown over the years and now touches many areas of public health and safety, including: drinking water, biohazard cabinetry, food safety, water quality, sustainability, and more. Consumers may recognize the blue NSF “mark” on a variety of products in their homes, commercial buildings, and restaurants and grocery stores. Consumers can search NSF’s online listings to see which products have been inspected, tested, and certified to comply with U.S. standards. NSF International provides food safety inspection services from farm to fork, including on-site audits of farms, processing facilities, distribution centers, grocery stores, and restaurants. These services are requested by companies who want to voluntarily demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and best practices when it comes to food safety, providing an added layer of protection to the primary regulatory inspection role.

Fightbac.org

Visit Fightbac.org for food safety information, downloads, and tools you can use to educate people about protecting their health through safe food handling.

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Government Resources

  • Foodsafety.gov
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Contact Us

Partnership for Food Safety Education
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