This week, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services launched a true first for our departments and our nation’s public health system. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service partnered with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Ad Council to debut a joint, national, multimedia public service campaign called Food Safe Families to help Americans prevent food-related illnesses in their homes. With this campaign, we’re trying to shift the way people think about food handling so they can take a more proactive, preventive approach at home to help reduce food-related illnesses.
The launch of the Food Safe Families campaign comes at a time when attention to food safety issues is high. This is also the start of summer and grilling season, when foodborne illnesses tend to increase with more outdoor meals and other factors that increase the risk for disease-causing bacteria in food. American families are looking for clear and concise information on how to better protect themselves, and this campaign has the potential to generate unprecedented national exposure to issues of food safety and foodborne illness prevention.
Using the motto “Check Your Steps” (#checksteps on Twitter), Food Safe Families aims to get consumers to adopt four very easy steps when preparing food:
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
- Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
The campaign includes English and Spanish-language television, radio, print, and Web advertising, as well as an integrated social media program. All campaign elements direct audiences to visit FoodSafety.gov, a recently refreshed and updated site in English and Spanish, where they can learn about food safety practices. The program includes a new FoodSafety.gov Facebook page and outreach via the site’s Twitter handle, both emphasizing “Check Your Steps.” Consumers can also access “Ask Karen,” an online database with answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions.
I hope you will take some time to check out the campaign and learn how to be a Food Safe Family!