Equitable Food Initiative (EFI), the workforce development and certification organization that partners with growers, farm workers, retailers and consumer advocacy groups, celebrates National Food Safety Education Month by encouraging growers and agricultural associations to share their commitment to food safety.
EFI hopes to expand the message beyond in-home education to raise awareness about the 2.4 million farm workers around the United States who work to grow, harvest and pack safe fruits and vegetables and who follow strict protocols to reduce the prevalence and severity of food safety incidents.
EFI hopes to expand the message beyond in-home education to raise awareness about the 2.4 million farm workers around the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year food-borne illness sickens roughly one in six Americans (or 48 million people), hospitalizes 128,000 and causes 3,000 deaths. The CDC aims to change that and has designated September as National Food Safety Education Month.
In a recent consumer survey, EFI polled respondents about a variety of social responsibility and sustainability issues and about their concerns when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Food recalls, food-borne outbreaks and illness were their second highest concern at 68 percent, right behind pesticide use and residues at 69 percent.
During September, EFI will share stories on social media about food safety and encourage others to do the same. Sample graphics and a video can be downloaded on the EFI website. Important messages to share include:
- Food safety starts on the farm and farm workers are on the front lines of preventing food-borne illness.
- To address threats to food safety, workers need dignified working conditions, training and a culture that encourages them to speak up.
- Well-trained farm workers are the critical first step in preventing food-borne illness.
- Farmers are held to high food safety standards and must complete yearly food safety audits and continuing education programs.
This month, EFI will share stories on social media about food safety in the industry and encourage other industry members to do the same.
EFI encourages industry members to continue amplifying the message that food safety starts at the farm by:
- Sharing EFI-provided messages/information across social media
- Creating unique content/videos for social media highlighting food safety protocols and messages using the hashtag #FoodSafetyMonth
- Contacting media and asking them to share information about the role of agriculture and farm workers in growing and shipping safe food
“As consumers, we take for granted that we have access to some of the safest, most abundant and affordable food supplies in the world,” said LeAnne Ruzzamenti, director of marketing communications for EFI. “But as industry members, we also need to share our story with consumers so they understand the role we play in creating this level of safety and abundance.”