In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk of contracting food poisoning.
To help families—especially parents—learn the practical steps they can take at home to help reduce their risk of getting sick, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC introduced the Food Safe Families campaign.
The campaign aims to educate families about the following four food handling behaviors:
- Separate: Raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards.
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils,and hands with soap and water while preparing food.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
In the initial campaign, humorous television PSAs, broadcast in English and Spanish, showcased chefs going to over-the-top measures to stay safe. To stay “clean,” for example, a man chopping vegetables employs a lawn sprinkler–and a raincoat.
The campaign also includes radio, print, and web advertising as well as an integrated social media program. Ads also ran on the Walmart Checkout TV Network, which covers 588 stores throughout the country.
In a more recent campaign, also broadcast in English in Spanish, featured a clueless chef prepares traditional family meals, but breaks food safety rules along the way–with some disastrous results. This campaign also included radio, print and online components.
All campaign elements direct audiences to visit FoodSafety.gov, where they can learn about food safe practices.
An online recipe tool allows users to upload their favorite recipes and have the critical food safety steps automatically included. Consumers can also access “Ask Karen,” an online database with answers to nearly 1,500 questions related to preventing foodborne illnesses.