Families can reduce their risk of food poisoning with a few clear steps.

The more you know about food poisoning, the better you’ll be able to protect yourself and your family.

The Problem

Also known as foodborne illness, it’s a serious public health threat in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately one in six Americans (48 million people) will suffer from food poisoning this year. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service and other government agencies are dedicated to protecting consumers by setting and enforcing food safety standards, the federal agencies also want to give consumers the information they need to be safer when preparing food for their families.

What Can Be Done

“When it comes to food safety, our No. 1 priority is prevention,” said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. “Knowing that the risk of foodborne illnesses may never be zero, it is important for us to get the word out about what consumers can do.”

To help, the USDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CDC and the Ad Council-a private, nonprofit organization-created the Food Safe Families campaign, developed pro bono by ad agency JWT New York. The PSAs suggest these safe food handling behaviors:

• Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and water while preparing food.

• Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.

• Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.

• Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.

The ads, in Spanish and English, will air and run in advertising time and space entirely donated by the media.

Learn More

The campaign suggests Americans visit www.FoodSafety.gov, a recently refreshed and updated site, where they can learn about food safety practices and access “Ask Karen,” an online database of answers to specific questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses. (NAPSI) ■