Most people reading this probably have heard the statistic by now that one in six Americans, or 48 million people, is expected to get sick from foodborne illness each year. You also probably have a lot of questions about what federal public health agencies are doing to prevent those illnesses, and what precautions you can take to further protect yourself and your family.
The truth is, USDA has put a number of new policies into place to make meat, poultry, and processed egg products safer, and we’re using new technologies, such as our Ask Karen smartphone app, to better reach consumers. As part of National Food Safety Education Month, I’ll be hosting a Virtual Office Hours session on Twitter to answer questions about what USDA is doing to bring down rates of foodborne illness, as well as what you can do at home to keep your family safe.
Some questions you may be wondering about could include:
How can I keep my family safe from foodborne illness?
What is USDA doing to bring down rates of E. coli and Salmonella illnesses?
If I discover a problem with my food, where can I report it?
How can I learn about products that have been recalled?
What should I do if I have a recalled product?
You can also use #AskUSDA to send your food safety questions early, and I will respond during the chat.
USDA Virtual Office Hours, a monthly live question and answer series, allows stakeholders to directly engage with USDA leadership and subject matter expertsthrough Twitter. September’s session is one of FSIS’s many efforts to apply cutting-edge science across the farm-to-table continuum and to enhance public education and outreach to improve food handling practices that can prevent foodborne illness. These goals are further outlined in the agency’s Fiscal Year 2011-2016 Strategic Plan, which will guide the agency through September 2016 in ensuring that food produced under FSIS’s authority is safe for the American public. Its eight specific, measurable goals all support three interlocking strategic themes: Prevent Foodborne Illness, Understand and Influence the Farm-to-Table Continuum, and Empower People and Strengthen Infrastructure.