Food Safety Education Month

During this year’s national Food Safety Education Month, STOP Foodborne Illness is asking their constituents and the public at large to increase awareness about foodborne illness and the fact that an estimated 3,000 people die every year from foodborne pathogens.

STOP says that “everything we do, we do to STOP 3000 people from losing their lives from something as fundamental as eating. STOP, along with industry, regulatory agencies, and consumers is focused on changing behavior and processes to improve food safety for the greater good.”

This month in recognition of annual Food Safety Education Month efforts, the group has organized a fundraiser called STOP3000. Donors who participate in STOP3000 can double their donations, thanks to a generous $100,000 challenge grant that matches every dollar given.

What is STOP3000?

 STOP3000 is:

  1. Taking 3000 steps a day (1.3 mi) for 30 days
  2. Setting a fundraising goal 
  3. Asking friends and family to donate on behalf of Stop Foodborne Illness

You can set up a fundraising page or give to STOP3000 by visiting this web page.

.About STOP
Stop Foodborne Illness is a public health non-profit organization. Since 1994, it has focused efforts on telling the “WHY” of food safety with personal advocate stories. “We are a small but mighty team of six and work tirelessly to end illness and death due to something as basic as eating because we are all at risk of foodborne illness,” according to the group’s website.

What you’re supporting with 3,000 steps:

  1. Salmonella/Campylobacter petition to USDA/FSIS

STOP, partnering with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, individual victims and members of the public submitted a petition to FSIS stating that it is necessary to make it illegal to sell poultry contaminated with certain pathogens to reduce the incidence of Salmonella and Campylobacter illnesses.

Currently, USDA puts its mark of inspection on poultry that is not necessarily free of Salmonella and Campylobacter known to cause human illness. In 2019, these two pathogens combined accounted for 70 percent of foodborne illnesses in the United States.

2. Recall Modernization
Stop Foodborne Illness began convening a multi-faceted group from academia, food industry, and industry associations to work with USDA and FDA to modernize the recall system in the United States. On July 13, STOP and its partners published its consumer-focused action list. The working group is in its next phase of work to research and deliver concrete action steps to FDA and USDA.

  1. Early Detection of Foodborne Illness Literature Review

The team at STOP has been conducting a literature review to identify factors that currently limit health care professionals from ordering stool cultures and reporting results when encountering diarrheal illnesses caused by foodborne pathogens. More than 75 published articles have been reviewed with 67 of the articles meeting the criteria for inclusion in the review. The manuscript is in the final stages of review with intent to publish.

  1. Dave Theno Food Safety Fellowship in partnership with Michigan State University


Jamie Ragos

The Dave Theno Food Safety Fellow engages in many activities including conducting his or her own research. The exiting 2019-2021 fellow, Jaime Ragos, is leading STOP’s literature review and pending publication focused on early detection of foodborne illness. Jaime has also developed a master’s level food safety course for Michigan State University’s Online Food Safety Program that will go live this fall prior to her departure to Taiwan as a Fulbright Scholar.

  1. Constituent Services

The development of STOP’s new website is focused on providing resources for its constituents. The newest addition, the Navigational Map, is for those who are in crisis, post-crisis or managing the long-term effects of surviving severe foodborne disease. This extensive resource, that takes you step by step through the odyssey of foodborne illness, was created by STOP constituents based on their own experiences. A video featuring Mary Heersink, whose son Damien almost died from E. coli O157:H7, welcomes you to the page and provides visitor guidance.

STOP continues its Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program which connects survivors and family members of victims seeking to engage with another person who has had a similar, traumatic foodborne illness experience.

  1. H.E.A.L. (Health, Educate, Advocate, Lead)

This program is under development by STOP in conjunction with constituent advocate, Rylee Gustafson. The vision of this program is to engage young adult foodborne illness survivors to support their development of leadership and advocacy skills to increase social awareness and affect food policy reform. The underlying theme of this program is communicating to young adult survivors that they are not alone; there is a community of individuals just like them with whom they can connect and be empowered.

  1. STOP Speakers Bureau (Constituents)

STOP regularly receives requests for its constituent advocates to tell their stories. We are fortunate to have many constituent advocates who are willing to publicly share their experiences. Managing these requests, identifying the appropriate speaker and organizing the logistics consumes staff time. STOP asks that each requester to make a donation to STOP to cover a portion of the expenses.

  1. STOP Speaking Engagements (Staff and Board)

STOP is well respected within the food industry and food safety community as an advocate for consumers. Its team receives many opportunities to deliver the message of its constituent advocates and share the substance of its collaborative work with academia and government.

  1. General Operating Expenses
    “Keeping the lights on.”
  2. Early Detection of Foodborne Illness

In collaboration with North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Michigan State University and University of Michigan, STOP seeks to conduct in-depth research based on the early detection of foodborne illness gaps identified through the literature review, described above, and identify solutions to reduce the incidence of severe foodborne illness.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)