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Partnership For Food Safety Education Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, September 21, 2007

The Partnership for Food Safety Education is commonly known as FightBac! Now its flagship program is Be Food Safe, with its message to consumers being: Clean. Separate. Cook. Chill.

This message has never been more important as food safety continues to gain in prominence as an issue. The Partnership establishes clearly the truth of the matter, which is that consumers have a role to play in keeping food safe.

This year happens to be the 10th anniversary of the Partnership, and the produce industry is honored to have one of its own, PMA President Bryan Silbermann, at the helm of the organization this year:

PMA’s SILBERMANN PRESIDES
OVER FOOD SAFETY PARTNERSHIP’S
10TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT, RETAIL EXPANSION OF PROGRAM

The food and drug commissioner and then-U.S. agriculture secretary joined Produce Marketing Association (PMA) President Bryan Silbermann and other notables from the food safety community at an event on Capitol Hill this week. The notables met to announce expansion of the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education’s (PFSE) consumer education campaign Be Food Safe, and to celebrate the partnership’s tenth anniversary.

PFSE Chair Silbermann presided over the event, introducing then-Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns, who lauded the public/private partnership as “a great example of how the public and the private sectors can work together very effectively for the public good.” Johanns also reiterated the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s commitment to ensuring safety of the domestic and imported food supply. FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., was also present.

PFSE Chair and PMA President Bryan Silbermann presents Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) with a plaque honoring her long-time commitment to improving food safety.

Silbermann also welcomed Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which has oversight over the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). DeLauro also founded the Congressional Food Safety Caucus. On the partnership’s behalf, Silbermann presented her with a plaque recognizing and honoring her commitment to food safety education. In her remarks, DeLauro said, “When it comes to food safety, the true front lines in our battle against foodborne illness are the individual consumers making individual decisions about how he or she handles food. And the best weapon we can provide is knowledge. No one does that better than the Partnership.”

A who’s who of food safety community leaders participated in the Sept. 18 event. Pictured from left to right are: Chris Waldrop of Consumer Federation of America; Will Fisher, NSF International; Shelley Feist, Partnership for Food Safety Education; Tim Hammonds, Food Marketing Institute; Pat Buck, Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention; then U.S. Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns; Barbara Byrd Keenan, Institute of Food Technologists; Bryan Silbermann, PFSE chairman and PMA president; FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D.; and Lou Raffel, American Egg Board.

Food Marketing Institute President and PFSE founding board member Tim Hammonds then announced the Partnership’s launch of an expanded Be Food Safe campaign initially researched and developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using the same core consumer food safety messages of clean, cook, separate and chill, the new Be Food Safe campaign has been developed for use in stores by retailers and their suppliers. Bold new graphics modules are now available to convey those messages at point of sale; 26 food retailers have already agreed to support the program in their stores.

“Food shoppers in 46 states will begin to see the colorful Be Food Safe icons in as many as 5,200 retail stores through in-store signage, brochures, flyers, packaging, circulars, and other materials.” said Hammonds. “As they roll this out, we also expect their suppliers to jump on board and further extend the Be Food Safe message to consumers.”

In his closing comments, Silbermann said, “Ten years from now, let’s stand here together and say that the Partnership for Food Safety Education continued to make substantial reductions in the incidence of foodborne illness attributed to improper food handling by consumers. That is our focus and that should be our goal.”

More details on how PMA members can sign up to use the Be Food Safe materials will be made available at Fresh Summit in Houston, Texas in October.

Here is a nice slide show on the Be Food Safe program.

You can download consumer brochures that can be printed in either color or black-and-white right here.

Here is a sell sheet explaining why retailers should get involved. Note that FMI and PMA-member retailers can sign up for free through December 15, 2007.

Manufacturers and producers can support the effort through the Friends of Food Safety Education.

Retailers can learn more here.

A big vote of thanks to both the Partnership and to Bryan for the important work being done in this area. Congratulations on a 10th anniversary.

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