By: Lindsay Maurath Date: 5/24/10
This month we were fortunate to join in for the debut of a great new food safety education experience-the Food Safety Discovery Zone Mobile! This 40-foot long big rig houses an interactive, food safety learning experience created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The education center on wheels is designed to deliver food safety information nationwide in an effort to help spread the word about foodborne illness and prevention. Visitors of all ages will learn the importance of cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling in this mobile kitchen, all part of the USDA’s Be Food Safe campaign.
The goal of the campaign is to heighten public awareness and effect behavior change through education. Food safety is always a pertinent issue in public health with more than 200 diseases transmitted through food. The CDC estimates that foodborne illness affects 76 million Americans annually, causing approximately 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Many of these foodborne illnesses can be avoided through practical and easy safe food handling practices which is why the USDA makes the promotion of food safety a top priority.
On one of its first mornings IFIC’s very own Director of Food Safety and Defense, Anthony ‘Tony’ Flood, made a cameo as the food safety character Thermy™. Thermy™ is an advocate for diligent thermometer use in the kitchen and was created as the messenger of the national consumer education campaign designed to help kids and adults remember to cook foods to a proper temperature. After meeting Thermy™ visitors won’t soon forget that to avoid food borne illness, “it’s safe to bite when the temperature’s right”.
Following its unveiling the Food Safety Mobile will spend nine months on the road delivering essential food safety messages around the country. If you didn’t make it out for its debut you can catch up on what you missed by going to the USDA’s websiteto take a virtual tour, learn about food safety, request an appearance in your town and review the schedule to see where the Food Safety Mobile is headed. If you’re lucky it will be headed to your town soon to help you learn all about how to clean, separate, cook and chill!