Foodborne illness is a serious public health threat. Each year, approximately 76 million cases of foodborne illness occur in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of those cases of foodborne illness, more than 325,000 people are hospitalized and about 5,000 deaths occur.
Why Be Food Safe?
Preventing foodborne illness is one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) top priorities. For more than 100 years, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has worked with our Nation’s commercial suppliers to ensure that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged for public consumption. And because research shows that improper handling, preparation, and storage of food can cause foodborne illness, FSIS has conducted—and is a key stakeholder in—many public education programs to prevent foodborne illness.
What is the Be Food Safe Campaign?
USDA developed the Be Food Safe campaign in cooperation with the Partnership for Food Safety Education, FDA, and CDC because research shows that Americans are aware of food safety, but they need more information to achieve and maintain safe food handling behaviors. The Be Food Safe campaign, which is grounded in social marketing, behavior change, and risk communications theories, is designed to provide educators with the tools to inform consumers about foodborne illness and raise the level of awareness of the dangers associated with improper handling and undercooking of food.
How Can You Help Others Be Food Safe?
Did you know local newspapers and news broadcasts report more news and information on food safety and nutrition than national news outlets? Partnerships with local organizations across the country will factor greatly in the success of this campaign. Partners like you—stakeholders in education, public health, retail, and industry —can achieve a greater momentum for the Be Food Safe message and have a greater positive impact on consumer behavior than one or two organizations alone.
For more information, read the complete Partner’s Campaign Guide (PDF Only).
If you would like to become a Be Food Safe partner, please contact us at BeFoodSafe@usda.gov. Or, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).
For more information regarding the development and launch of this campaign, see also: