WASHINGTON - Food-safety advocates attending industry meetings and conventions over the decades have said more must be done to educate the consumer about food safety and the proper handling of meat and poultry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (U.S.D.A.) is taking such a step with the Food Safety Mobile, which will be on the road throughout the U.S. this summer to help teach Americans how to safely prepare and handle food.

“The U.S.D.A. Food Safety Discovery Zone is a 40-foot long truck that is packed with food-safety lessons,” said the agency’s Bob Ellison. “U.S.D.A.’s Food Safety Inspection Service (F.S.I.S.) introduced the truck on the national Mall in Washington, D.C. before it set out across the country.”

“It’s going to go to schools, grocery stores, state and county fairs, in the fall, you know. I think we’re going to take in a few football games and wherever there are large crowds that can tour the exhibit and we can really impart a lot of food-safety education to a large number of people,” said Bob Tuverson, U.S.D.A./F.S.I.S

Although the Food Safety Discovery Zone is meant to teach in a fun and interactive way, it is addressing a serious threat, according to U.S.D.A. School-aged children are a target audience for the Food Safety Discovery Zone.

“It reinforces clean, separate, cook and chill,” Mr. Tuverson said. “Clean your surfaces before you start preparing and handling food. Separate uncooked and raw food from cooked food. Cook your food to a safe internal temperature and then chill your food right away after cooking it to make sure that it stays safe.”

The Food Safety Discovery Zone will tour the country through mid-November. Scheduled stops are posted at www.fsis.usda.gov.