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!”



Basem’s Story Solidified His Learning

One of the best ways to solidify the new strategies you learn is to apply them and teach them.

Basem Boutros is a CFSEC2017 scholarship student who explains how he applied his new learning from the conference to a story in his life and made his new learning permanent.

 Basem sent us his story:

The 2017 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference drew to my attention to several aspects that contribute to food safety behavior.  In this brief story, I see that I experienced a goal of food safety behavior change, self-regulation, without even realizing it!

Self-regulation refers to controlling oneself through self-monitoring.

In the past, I worked in a restaurant as prep cook/line cook and there were food safety standards in place that we all, as a back-of-the-house staff, were committed to.

Much of my job required the preparation and handling of raw chicken. One time, while I was preparing to put chicken wings in the mixing bowl to bread them, I checked the box and found that the wings were slimy and emitted an obnoxious smell.

I let the chef know and he recommended disposing of them. I felt like if it had not been for the pre-check I did, as a result of self-monitoring,  many people may have gotten sick!

That’s my learning story.

Go BAC Fighters!

Basem Boutros is specializing in food safety as a PhD student in Hospitality Management at Kansas State University.