ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Federal government, cooperative extensions and public health agencies are identified as the most active organizations in educating consumers about safe food handling at home, according to an environmental scan report commissioned by the non-profit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE). The analysis of current activity and initiatives in food safety education across different sectors was released today at the Consumer Food Safety Education Conference 2014 in Arlington, Va. and is available at teamfoodsafety.org.
The survey found that in today's digital environment, most food safety education is done in person. According to the survey, 90 percent of the people that consider themselves food safety educators connect with consumers via face-to-face meetings and presentations. The next most-used channel is online, with 36 percent of educators using this method to connect with consumers.
Download the infographic by visiting: http://www.teamfoodsafety.org/scan
"We conducted this environmental scan for the Partnership for Food Safety Education to better understand where health and food educators are focusing their consumer outreach activities," said Dr. Benjamin Chapman, associate professor in the department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences at NCSU. "Gathering data on educators' delivery methods and target audiences allows the food safety community to see where gaps exist – and provide a roadmap for where to put resources in the future."
Of the groups surveyed, the federal government was identified as reaching the greatest numbers of consumers through programs such as Food Safe Families, Cook it Safe and Fight BAC!®. Cooperative extensions represent the greatest number of educators who come in contact with consumers on the topic of home safe food handling.
Across the three most active groups, food safety education outreach has been predominantly aimed at reaching children/students and adults with children at home. Public health was found to be a primary sector reaching elderly populations. Low-income populations, pregnant women and people who buy food were secondary targets for food safety educators.
Another finding of the survey is that measuring the impact of food safety education programs is not always a top priority. Across all of the groups surveyed, half (52 percent) measure the impact of their programs, while the remaining 48 percent either do not conduct evaluations of these efforts or don't know if there is an evaluation system in place. Those organizations that do measure effectiveness do so using tools such as pre and post surveys, tests/quizzes, audits/visits and surveillance.
"We all need to do a better job of measuring and then telling the story of the impact of food safety education on consumer health," said Shelley Feist, Executive Director, Partnership for Food Safety Education. "Much of this year's Consumer Food Safety Education Conference is focused on program evaluation and tactics for measuring program impact. Our hope is that the conversations and the tools shared in these sessions will make measurement a more attainable goal across the board."
For those unable to attend the Consumer Food Safety Education Conference, several plenary sessions will be broadcast live on December 4-5 at www.teamfoodsafety.org/live.
PFSE commissioned North Carolina State University to conduct the survey in 2014 to identify the most involved organizations, the audiences they serve, and the channels most frequently used to communicate safe food handling messages. For a complete description of methodology please visit: www.teamfoodsafety.org/scan
About the Partnership for Food Safety Education
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is the originator of science-based food safety messages and the national leader in developing and disseminating information around the linkage of food safety consumer education with positive health outcomes. Founded in 1997, the non-profit Partnership brings together public and private sectors to support health and food safety educators by making their work more visible, collaborative and effective. For more information, visit www.fightbac.org. The Partnership is supported by the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, NSF International, the Produce Marketing Association, and Cargill among other leading industry associations, professional societies in food science, nutrition and health, and consumer groups.
Partnership for Food Safety Education
North Carolina State University
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SOURCE Partnership for Food Safety Education