You brought some very valid points to the conversation, and I find it telling that many of us
include education in our methods to combat contamination at all points in the food distribution
network. Food production and retail facilities are essential points to focus resources on. You
mentioned recalls being handled in a timelier manner. In my post, I suggested the use of social
media to blast information on this topic. I believe this is a cost effect and more up to date method
of reaching consumers and would also address timeliness.
While I was sifting through research, I came across an interesting article about the use of online
consumer complaint forms for foodborne illness surveillance. The study found that online users
were more often younger and would report more quickly than telephone users.
This further gives
support to the use of online source of reaching consumers, but uses the technology in a reverse
manner, allowing the consumer to inform instead of the opposite. Honestly, I didn't even know
there was a line to call if you suspected you had a foodborne illness, but I would be more likely
to submit a claim online than calling it in.
I believe it is time to look at new methods of reaching consumers and food workers. Food safety
programs and certifications must be implemented, but not feel like a chore. They need to address
the real-world implications of not following the guidelines and procedures, but also not just
throw facts and figures at the viewer. I must admit, the ServSafe education module was perfect in
my opinion. It addressed food safety for the food handler, whether at home or in a public space,
it was interactive, and engaging. This type of material could be employed for farmers, production
employees, transportation workers, and many others to really enhance their understanding and
want to comply.
Kim TN, Decuir M, Smith K, Medus C, Hedberg CW. Use of Online Consumer
Complaint Forms to Enhance Complaint-Based Surveillance for Foodborne Illness
Outbreaks in Minnesota.
Journal of Food Protection