WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is holding a virtual public meeting on Oct. 6 to discuss the current state of consumer food safety education and strategies to improve it in the future.

“Food Safety: Consumer Outreach and Education Today and for the Future,” is scheduled for Oct. 6, from noon to 4 p.m. ET. The virtual event feature presentations from food safety experts on their current and upcoming work and partnerships that have enabled continued improvement of consumer food safety. Participants must register online to attend and can indicate if they would like to speak at the meeting when they register.

“USDA has been a leader in consumer education for years, and now we have the evidence to show how and why our food safety messages are critical,” said Mindy Braschears, PhD, USDA undersecretary for Food Safety. “By using research to continually improve food safety education, based on empirical data instead of assumptions, we can change consumer behavior and decrease foodborne illness nationally.”

A study currently underway has FSIS observing consumers as they prepare meals and conducting interviews, focus groups and web surveys. The goal of the research is to help the agency to understand how consumers handle food in the home and to develop strategies that close the gap between food safety messages and consumer behaviors. FSIS, with research partners RTI International and North Carolina State University, will use the data to redesign and reimagine food safety outreach for the future.

Interested parties should submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov, docket number FSIS-2020-0026, by Oct. 9. Public comments should be submitted on or before Sept. 18 for consideration.