US - An integrated approach to food safety education is needed to encourage consumers to adopt safe food handling procedures.
This was one of the main conclusions from the 2014 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference - “Together: A Food Safe America,” hosted by the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education.
The conference, which took place in Arlington, Virginia, in which the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) joined industry, corporate and governmental organisations in sponsoring the event, the convened experts in the fields of food safety and behavioural health representing industry, government, academia and the non-profit sector.
The conference discussed strategies aimed at increasing the proportion of US consumers who follow key food safety practices.
Conference panels addressed numerous topics, including food safety, behaviour change, at-risk populations, risk communication and consumer safe handling procedures.
Conference panellists and participants concluded that food safety remains a significant public health issue, and reiterated the need to integrate food safety education with nutrition information to encourage consumers to practice safe food handling procedures.
Wal-Mart’s Vice President of Food Safety, Frank Yiannas, echoed other session presenters by calling for food safety messages that appealed to consumers’ shared values and emotions.
However, overcoming consumer perceptions, including the notion that foodborne illness occurs outside the home, remains the principal barrier to behaviour change.
As a result, the conference suggested partnering with celebrity chefs to more visibly demonstrate food safety habits, and discussed ways to encourage more robust food thermometer use to ensure meat and poultry are cooked to the proper temperatures.
The conference underscored the need to ensure compliance of food safety practices in the entire food production chain and engage retail establishments, including grocery stores and restaurants.
TheMeatSite News Desk