Linda Beech Amps Up Don’t Wing It in Kansas

People in Ellis County, Kansas, will have a hard time missing information from the Don’t Wing It (DWI) food safety campaign thanks to Linda Beech, their local family and consumer sciences extension agent.

Don’t Wing It Is Ready for Action
Linda has been busy spreading the newly released consumer food safety information ever since participating in the Don’t Wing It webinar in April. This well-designed approach to poultry handling information, plus the new research, packaged together especially for BAC Fighters, makes it easy to spread the word.

Science Sells
She especially values the science behind the program – for example, the research on how people handle shopping carts in a way that can spread harmful bacteria, and the potential concentration of Campylobacter in just one drop of chicken juice, which is enough to make you sick.

Linda says that these point-by-point science references help her to teach in a way that people take seriously.

Spreading Don’t Wing It
She has written articles on how to prevent foodborne illness using the information in DWI for her local paper’s print and online versions. Linda has also posted on Facebook and spoken about Don’t Wing It on local radio. She featured DWI in the general county extension newsletter as well as one focused on seniors. Her mini-cable TV show about DWI reaches up to 10,000 subscribers in a three-county area. She uses the #DontWingIt hashtag in her Facebook posts about her own chicken BBQ!

Recipes with Food Safety Prompts
Linda is using the research on the success of adding food safety steps into recipe directions to beef up the recipes she uses in her newsletter. She convinced others in county extension of the value of this as well.

Facebook Comments Show Results
The comments to Linda’s posts on the extension FB page show how her outreach raises food safety awareness:

  • Ok, I’m convinced… No more giving my chicken a bath.
  • Great job, Linda! While I already follow most of food safety practices in your video, including cleaning the shopping cart handles, I never really connected OTHER PEOPLE’s drippy chicken packages not in a plastic bag to food safety in MY kitchen. This raises my awareness about what I should do to be responsible about food safety. Other things I do, not in your video…….I sanitize the front corners of my shopping cart, because sometimes I pull the cart instead of always pushing it; and I place meat packages in the bottom basket of the cart in the store when I have a 2 tier cart, similar to storing chicken on the lowest shelf in the fridge.

Linda’s newspaper column can be found here.
Her cable TV video is here.

Check out more Don’t Wing It resources.

Share your story with us.

Fighting BAC! in the Philippines

In the spring of 2016,  BAC! Fighter Marie Josephine Paredes-Umali of Valencia, California presented Fight BAC! food safety lectures in the Philippines.  She found an audience thirsty for this information and learned that there were few readily available food safety training resources.

Paredes speaking about parasites

Invitation to become a BAC Fighter!

Mayors, government coordinators, market vendors and vendors selling RTE foods made up her large audiences. For many, this was the first time they had been exposed to any food safety training. Participants received a Fight BAC! Core Four Practices poster, with extra copies to post in schools, public health centers, markets, and homes. Marie Josephine invited each of the participants to become BAC Fighters.

Paredes students in Philipines

Food Market Audits

In Makati City, the government unit official requested a food safety audit of the Sunday Market. Marie Josephine noticed many unsafe food handling practices and commented on these during her next lecture. A few days later, she repeated the audit and noticed many positive changes. Armed with food safety information, the food vendors were ready and willing to improve their practices. The Red Cross local chapter will continue to audit the market vendors’ food handling practices.


Though she is “semi-retired”, Marie Josephine opened an office in Manila– MJPU Foodsafety Consultancy—which will will focus on food safety education and helping the Philippines with implementation of FSMA. 

BAC Fighters Love In-person Outreach, Videos, and Swag! — Insights from the 2017 BAC Fighter Survey

Almost 700 BAC Fighters participated in the 2017 BAC Fighter Survey. (Thank you!) Getting your input helps us to direct our resources toward your interests. Here are a few highlights:

Cooperative Extension Is Tops
Most BAC Fighters are from cooperative extension or university, closely followed by K-12 school systems. Local, state, and federal government combined made up about the same percentage of BAC Fighters as extension.

Up-Close and Personal Outreach
The largest percentage of BAC Fighters (33%) report that they educate 50 to 100 people in a year.
This likely means that they’re using small class formats, which explains why print materials are the tools used most heavily by BAC Fighters (at 78%). Of those who responded, 56% rated direct person-to-person contact and 53% rated classes or speaking engagements as their main tools.

Budget Stretchers to the Max
Most BAC Fighters (65%) are from organizations spending $10,000 or less in a year on educating consumers about safe food handling.

What Would You Do With…
BAC Fighters have many ideas about what they would do with more resources. The largest number said they would boost outreach with classes, health fairs, and community events. The next largest number of respondents said they would want more videos for teaching different audiences. The third largest group of respondents would use more giveaway items: food thermometers, color handouts, magnets, cutting boards.

“No Assessment” Still Ranks Too High
BAC Fighters use many methods to assess efforts, but some have no formal method of measuring the success of their work. The largest group of respondents uses feedback, evaluations, and surveys; the next largest group uses pre- and post-tests; the third largest group of BAC Fighters said they do no assessment; the fourth largest group reported using observation.

Helping Build Community
About 12% of BAC Fighters are ready to share a story with us about their work and have it featured in our blog. Over three times that many, 40%, said they may be willing to share a story. And about a quarter of BAC Fighters said they would be interested in talking to us about getting more involved in efforts to improve food safety education.

Would you be willing to share your outreach story? Help build the BAC Fighter community!
It’s easy. Just visit the Your Story submission page.


Betty’s Deviance Inspires Community Food Safety

Betty Yaohua Feng, is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. She presented two sessions related to Positive Deviance at CFSEC2017.

Her research investigates the effectiveness of positive deviance interventions on changing consumers’ safe food handling attitudes and behaviors.

For those unfamiliar with the theory, Positive Deviance is based on the observation that, in every community, there are certain individuals whose uncommon practices (in this case- correct food safety behaviors) enable them to find better solutions to problems than their neighbors or colleagues, despite having access to the same resources.

The goals are to identifying best practices on how to reach these individuals and then to work with these “Positive Deviants” to promote food safety in a community or group.

Betty shares a story from her research:

A few years ago, I piloted the Positive Deviance approach in classes with several different groups of people with diabetes.  The classes covered the importance of food safety in diabetes. “Doreen,” one of the group members, was a 62-year-old woman with Type-2 Diabetes. She had never heard that having diabetes put you at higher risk for food borne illness. This was important news to her.

She attended all of the three group sessions offered.  Doreen shared that before she came to the classes, she never realized that she should wash the apples she brought home from the supermarket before eating them. She was surprised to learn that. Doreen said, “They are so shiny and I only buy from big chains, so I assumed they were clean and ready to eat. I didn’t know they needed to be washed.” 

Before and after the series, we gave food safety knowledge pre- and post- tests, and Doreen did very well with the post-test. Before the last session, she asked if I would like to go to her church and present food safety information to her friends and family and community members. This was very encouraging to me, as an educator. It is unlikely that before she attended the classes she would have invited a food safety expert to present information to her local congregation.

Doreen’s positive deviance was influencing her community!

Michelle Finds Birds and Bread Boost Hand-Washing

Michelle Paillou, Environmental Supervisor/Training Coordinator for the St. Louis (MO) County Health Department, is a community education specialist. Her food safety outreach ranges from operators who need a refresher at the “food school” she created, to school age kids and adults.

For grade schoolers to high school students, her presentation revolves around the familiar St. Louis Cardinals and all the food safety steps that have to be taken by the stadium food vendors before it opens.  Michelle says, “Since most of the kids know about baseball, it’s a great way to tie in public health.”

For the youngest students, Michelle talks to the kids about how to wash your hands and why it’s important. In her class, she uses three pieces of bread and asks the kids to touch one of them with unwashed hands, touch another one with washed hands, and one slice is untouched.

She next shows them the “time-lapsed” results, using “pre-treated” bread slices: the slice that was not handled and the one handled with clean hands remain uncontaminated and OK to eat. While the slice handled with dirty hands is covered with bacterial growth and looks, as the kids say, “disgusting”.

Michelle has found that this is a great visual and really makes an impact. She sometime receives notes from students after the class, thanking her for teaching them about handwashing.   Michelle tells us that she leaves them, “Singing the Happy Birthday song and washing their hands!”