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Food Safety News

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Food Safety Campaign Back on Boards and Airwaves

Those plain-speaking public service announcements warning consumers about foodborne illnesses and promoting food safety practices are gearing up for another summer run starting just before the 4th of July.

The Food Safe Families campaign is the work of the non-profit Ad Council for the federal government’s top three food safety agencies, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

After its roll out a year ago, Food Safe Families got some positive feedback the campaign because it is direct about food poisoning illnesses and deaths.

In its second act, it is back with the addition of a “4 Steps to Food Safety from Our founding Fathers.” It tells backyard barbeque chefs that:

George Washington says…CLEAN

John Adams says…SEPARATE

Thomas Jefferson says…COOK

Benjamin Franklin says…CHILL

The second flight of the campaign got underway June 26.

The Ad Council’s 2011-12 campaign marks the first multimedia effort by the three agencies to jointly raise awareness about the risks of food borne illnesses or food poisoning in the home.

New PSAs for outdoor locations like billboards, bus boards, and shelters are going up nationwide. The TV versions of the PSAs are going to run on Wal-Mart’s Checkout Network known as “Chill TV” in 600 stores nationwide.

The timing for resuming the food safety ad campaign is not an accident. Americans will purchase $400 million worth of beef for July 4th grilling, but a majority of consumers still do not know how to check to see if a burger is safe. Only 1 in 4 (23 percent) own a food thermometer for checking the internal cooking temperature of a cooking burger.

The campaign will again remind people that 1 out 6 Americans (48 million) will suffer from foodborne illnesses this year, putting 128,000 people in the hospital and resulting in 3,000 deaths.”

“Consumers have high expectations for the safety of the food supply,” says Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “and we, the government, have an obligation to make sure that food is safe.”

“But despite the best efforts of government and industry, the system isn’t perfect.”

Vilsack said consumers still face some risk and “our job is to make then aware of it and how to minimize it.” He said that is the purpose of the federal government’s partnership with the Ad Council.

“Making sure hands, utensils, and surfaces are clean, that you’re cooking food thoroughly, storing its at safe temperature, and avoiding cross-contamination are simple, meaningful steps that people can take to keep themselves and their families from getting sick,” he added.

The Ad Council member providing the creative work for the campaign is New York’s JWT.

One of its main goals is to get consumers to take actions to reduce their risk to food borne illnesses.

“The power of this campaign is its ability to break through the media clutter and draw people’s attention to a serious public health issue,” says Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA’s under secretary for food safety.

Chill TV will run the PSAs for about six weeks through July 31, reaching an estimated 16 million customers.

The Ad Council has prepared both English and Spanish versions of the PSAs.

In a related move, FSIS has expanded its “Ask Karen” access to more than 1,300 food safety questions to a Spanish-language option called “Pregúntele a Karen.” Both English and Spanish-speaking Karens are now available to answer questions.

For more tips, go to FoodSafety.gov to obtain the ‘Ask Karen’ app, available in English (m.AskKaren.gov) and Spanish (m.PregunteleaKaren.gov).

© Food Safety News