September is National Food Safety Education Month, and a number of federal and local government agencies, as well as food companies and food industry associations have already launched educational campaigns.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is hosting a "Food Safety 101" webinar series on Sept. 10 and 17, geared to health educators, public health professionals, caregivers, and parents who cook at home. The webinars will feature speakers from the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, FSIS’ Office of Public Health Science, Kansas State University, and the International Food Information Council.
Both webinars will occur from noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern time, and will be archived for viewing at a later date, according to FSIS. The Sept. 10 webinar, "Back to Basics," will cover basic food safety tasks and the risks that can be avoided with proper food safety practices. The Sept. 17 webinar, entitled “Everyday Application,” aims to help participants identify common kitchen food safety blunders, and alternatives to prevent foodborne illness.
The National Restaurant Association, with assistance from sponsors Anheuser-Busch InBev and paper products supplier SCA, established the FoodSafetyMonth.com website to disseminate educational materials to foodservice professionals. The site features:
- weekly training activities, which clearly communicate concepts to employees and can be completed in less than 10 minutes;
- videos with tips on food preparation safety; and
- posters in both English and Spanish.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the ADA) not only offers food safety tips on its own website, EatRight.org, but also collaborated with ConAgra Foods to create a separate site called HomeFoodSafety.org. In a joint news release about the new website, registered dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore noted that approximately 31 percent of all edible food is wasted in the U.S., and American households throw away about 19 percent of vegetables and 14 percent of the fruit they buy. She added that much food waste is due to improper storage and misreading labels. Thus, HomeFoodSafety.org provides a number of educational tools, including:
- An Is My Food Safe? app that lists the shelf life of common foods
- A Read Food Labels to Reduce Food Waste infographic
- A Keep It Cool Storage Chart
- A Produce Storage infographic
- The guide, Produce from Purchase to Plate: Steps to Reduce Food Waste