Making Progress on a Food Safety Promise . . .

By: Tony Flood   Date: 7/9/10

Back in March 2009, President Barack Obama made a pledge to target food safety and to set the stage for modernization of our current food safety system.  This pledge came on the heels of one of the biggest food recalls in history involving peanut paste and peanut butter products. Out of that pledge, came the formation of the Food Safety Working Group - a collaborative effort to help modernize food safety.  In an announcement today, the Working Group shared its progress in improving food safety. Today's announcement touched on strengthening inspections; improving response and recovery and communication technologies.  The web site is a tangible part of the improvements made to date. 

But what about us?  What's my role in food safety?

According to the 2010 IFIC Foundation Food & Health survey, Americans cite the government (74%) and industry (70%) as the top entities responsible for food safety in the U.S.  Overall approximately one -third of Americans (31%) see food safety as a shared responsibility among five or more stakeholder groups including farmers / producers, retailers and themselves.  With this data is it important to understand that we too have a role to play in food safety and especially in regards to safe food handling at home.  Did you know that many people still don't practice even the basic safe food handling techniques?  That right, the Survey indicates a steady decline in safe food handling practices such as washing hands with soap and water (89% in 2010 compared to 92% in 2008).  These very same declines are also relevant in microwave food safety practices, where 69% of American consumers, down from years past, follow all the cooking instructions.

With these types of results and steady declines, the time is now for us to make a promise:  a promise to practice safe food handling in our homes and with our loved ones.  Join me in sharing the messages of clean, separate, cook and chill by introducing them to your family and friends.  I've even given thermometers to my 84 year old mother and a host of her contemporaries who are all at a delicate age for increased risk of foodborne illness.  She and her friends loved them and found them useful and very easy to use.  I've also shared with them the video "Be Food Safe with Win" which illustrates the ease of safe food handling in the home. 

Take a few extra minutes to clean, separate, cook and chill and we can join our President in our commitment to food safety.