This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) announced an expansion of its services to the general public--the Meat and Poultry Hotline. This change is in accordance with the agency’s 5-year Strategic Plan goal to focus on the reduction of foodborne illness by increasing public awareness of safe food handling methods.

FSIS’ Meat and Poultry Hotline is a toll-free number that’s been assisting consumers with their safe food storage, handling and preparation questions for 32 years. The hotline has answered more than three million calls since its inception. Now, the hotline will operate for an additional two hours, from 10 am to 6 pm Eastern.

“Our hotline provides a valuable service in educating consumers about how to safely prepare food,” says FSIS administrator Al Almanza. “By keeping the hotline open an additional two hours, we are expanding our reach to allow more consumers, including those on the West Coast, to have their food safety questions answered.”

The hotline is supplemented by Ask Karen, a 24-hour online chat service that also answers consumers’ burning questions about food safety. Questions are answered by food safety specialists via live chat and email.

“Our hotline staff are experts in their field and have backgrounds in nutrition, food technology and public health,” says Almanza. “Experts are available to talk with people in English and Spanish, so we are able to help address the food safety needs of diverse communities.”

Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-674-6854

Ask Karen chat service:

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