WASHINGTON, DC – The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reminding the public to think about health and safety in the kitchen for National Food Safety Education Month this September. 

“My vision for food safety includes enhancing and emphasizing consumer education,” said Mindy Brashears, undersecretary for food safety. “Consumers play a vital role in reducing foodborne illness – and by providing scientifically accurate and effective food safety information, we can help empower them to adopt and practice safe food handling behaviors in their own homes.” 

Foodborne illness is a preventable public health challenge that results in millions of illnesses each year in the United States. To combat this, FSIS engages with the public about food safety in a variety of ways including the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, media interviews and seasonal campaigns. 

In the month of September, FSIS is highlighting four simple steps for food safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill. FSIS also collaborates with the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the website FoodSafety.gov, which serves as the federal government’s “gateway to food safety information.” 

“Our agency research has shown that handwashing and preventing cross-contamination are two food safety steps that consumers sometimes struggle with,” said Paul Kiecker, FSIS administrator. “FSIS is committed to increasing consumer knowledge on the importance of these food safety steps through our many modes of consumer education.”