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Teaching Kids Food Safety Tips for a Healthy Next Generation

Posted by James Croxon, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Congressional and Public Affairs in Health and Safety
Feb 21, 2017
US Department of Agriculture’s mobile Discovery Zone is a hands-on vehicle that travels the nation educating children and parents about the four main principals of home food safety – clean, separate, cook and chill.  For more information see www.fsis.usda.gov/foodsafetymobile/
US Department of Agriculture’s mobile Discovery Zone is a hands-on vehicle that travels the nation educating children and parents about the four main principals of home food safety – clean, separate, cook and chill. For more information see www.fsis.usda.gov/foodsafetymobile/

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ensures that America’s meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe and wholesome. Educating the public on proper food handling practices is a core agency mission as well. It’s even more important when one considers the impact safe food handling practices have on children.

With a generation of children brought up relating the word “celebrity” to chefs just as readily as they do to athletes, food safety education has a more receptive audience among teens and young adults than ever before. With the help of parents and guardians, the current generation of children could have fewer preventable cases of foodborne illness than ever before.

The four food safety steps of Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill from the Food Safe Families campaign are key to achieving this goal and are easily taught to children. But we need your help getting those four words to become part of the lexicon of every American. Go ahead, say it with me: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill; Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. Say it when you prepare every meal and demonstrate it to your children.

If you have questions, FSIS provides a number of resources that can provide answers. For consumer information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and the safe preparation of meat, poultry and eggs, you can go on-line and ask Karen, FSIS' food safety avatar. Ask Karen is an automated system containing answers to thousands of typical hotline questions with live chat available during specified weekday hours. Ask Karen is also available as a mobile app, available for Android and iOS devices.

Another resource is the Meat and Poultry hotline, where our food safety experts can personally answer your questions over the phone, live chat or through email on topics including safe food handling, product dating, product content, power outages and more. The hotline can be reached at 1-888-MPHotline (674-6854) or via e-mail at mphotline@fsis.usda.gov.

But wait. Like a late-night infomercial, there’s more. The agency’s food safety education exhibit, known as the Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ), will be traveling to state and county fairs, community health fairs, festivals, and a host of other public events. When it stops, unpacks and opens its doors, volunteers greet visitors and pass out a variety of materials including coloring books, story books and food safety education pamphlets. The schedule will soon be posted on the agency’s website and tweeted from @USDAFoodSafety.

Whether in person at your local fairground, through a game on your iPhone or hopefully because Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill is now stuck in your head, FSIS is trying get the word out on safe food handling. We’ll continue to keep the meat heading to the supermarket and restaurants safe and wholesome; however, from there, we need your help.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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Comments

Nicole McNeely
Feb 26, 2020

Hello. I am the director for the Food Bank of Nevada County, CA. A few years back your educational truck came to our county fair. I was so impressed and would love to have the same exhibit come to one of our USDA food distributions. We serve thousands of people every month and would love to offer them the opportunity to become better educated about food safety. Our hope is that your exhibit will be in our area sometime in the near future and we can coordinate to have you come to our location. Thank you and we hope to hear back from you soon.

Nicole McNeely
The Food Bank of Nevada County

Ben Weaver
Feb 27, 2020

@Nicole McNeely - thank you for your interest in the Food Safety Discovery Zone! Unfortunately this exhibit has retired and is no longer available however, we’re happy to hear you were able to enjoy it while it was around. We’d still love to coordinate with you to get you some of our other food safety educational material that we have available. Please reach out to us directly at: fsis.outreach@usda.gov. Looking forward to hearing from you!