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Food Safe Families: First-Ever National Multimedia Food Safety Campaign Launches to Reduce Food Poisoning in the U.S.

Posted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Health and Safety
Feb 21, 2017
Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Food Safe Families simplifies and updates safe food handling recommendations to shift the way people think about food poisoning risk and prevention.
Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill: Food Safe Families simplifies and updates safe food handling recommendations to shift the way people think about food poisoning risk and prevention.

Today, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services launched a true first for our departments and our nation’s public health system. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service partnered with the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Ad Council to debut a joint, national, multimedia public service campaign called Food Safe Families to help Americans prevent food-related illnesses in their homes. With this campaign, we’re trying to shift the way people think about food handling so they can take a more proactive, preventive approach at home to help reduce food-related illnesses.

The launch of the Food Safe Families campaign comes at a time when attention to food safety issues is high. This is also the start of summer and grilling season, when foodborne illnesses tend to increase with more outdoor meals and other factors that increase the risk for disease-causing bacteria in food. American families are looking for clear and concise information on how to better protect themselves, and this campaign has the potential to generate unprecedented national exposure to issues of food safety and foodborne illness prevention.

Using the motto “Check Your Steps” (#checksteps on Twitter), Food Safe Families aims to get consumers to adopt four very easy steps when preparing food:

  1. Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
  2. Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
  3. Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
  4. Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.

The campaign includes English and Spanish-language television, radio, print, and Web advertising, as well as an integrated social media program. All campaign elements direct audiences to visit, a recently refreshed and updated site in English and Spanish, where they can learn about food safety practices. The program includes a new Facebook page and outreach via the site’s Twitter handle, both emphasizing “Check Your Steps.” Consumers can also access “Ask Karen,” an online database with answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions.

This Thursday, join @FoodSafetyGov and @USDAFoodSafety in a live Twitter Chat at 1:00 p.m. EDT, using the hashtag #checksteps to kick off the campaign and get answers to Fourth of July grilling questions.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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Amy Greenlaw
Jun 30, 2011

I am producing educational materials and would like to use the 4-concept symbol and each part seperately. How can I get the symbols seperate? Clean, Seperate, Cook, Chill. In other words, How can I get the symbol parts not just as a foursome so to speak.

Jul 08, 2011


We’re actually putting together an online toolkit for people wanting to spread the Food Safe Families campaign within their organizations or communities. It should be available in the next few weeks and will have all sorts of downloadable and customizable materials. We’ll post a link when it’s up!