Each year, millions of Americans suffer from foodborne illnesses, leading to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Although many of these illnesses can be prevented by changing behaviors in the kitchen, consumer mishandling can come back to haunt food processors and manufacturers through complaints, social media postings, or even recalls.
Foodborne illness may increase during winter holidays for a variety of reasons. Frequently, consumers leave food out at holiday parties for long periods of time; food transported to holiday parties can reach unsafe temperatures; traditional holidays drinks like eggnog may contain raw ingredients that should be avoided; and in holiday baking, home cooks may sample batter with raw egg, increasing the likelihood of contracting a foodborne illness.
To assist in getting the word out to consumer, USDA FSIS developed an online toolkit designed to help food companies get started with a local Winter Holiday campaign.
The toolkit includes free materials that can be usde to promote safe food handling during the holidays.
With materials organized to help make outreach informative, helpful and fun, resources include:
- Press Release that can be personalized by your organization to email to local news outlets, radio, newspapers and blogs.
- Talking Points, such as the statistic that opened this article.
- Consumer Fact Sheets, such as Seasonal Food Safety, At-Risk Populations, Egg Products, and Roasting Those “Other” Holiday Meats
- Social Media – Suggested tweets and Facebook posts to help spread the word about food safety during the Winter Holidays.
- General Radio Interview (Subject Matter).
- Audio Archives Radio Interviews (USDA).
- YouTube videos (USDA FSIS YouTube Channel).
- Pinterest (USDA Food Safety USDAFSIS).
- Brand Brief.
To encourage co-branding, can to outreach materials and media resources enable organizations’ names to be added. FSIS has also included feature articles for submission to newsletters or to local newspapers, along with talking points for interviews or speeches.