Why I support PFSE

kathy_268d27aa503bde6670958f3079834e01Consumers deserve accurate, practical information about how to handle food safely to prevent foodborne illness. The many, diverse educators that teach about safe food handling, collectively known as the BAC! Fighters, deserve resources and support for their consumer outreach. Preventing foodborne illness is as simple as following key food handling practices, and it’s as complex as any effort to change consumer behavior.

That’s why the food industry, U.S. government agencies, and consumer organizations came together in the late 1990s to found the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE). I’m proud to have been a part of this since its inception, and I’m blown away by the commitment and passion BAC! Fighters demonstrate every day to help consumers handle food safely and reduce their risk of foodborne illness, which can range from an annoying gastro problem to deadly illness. Take a look at their stories.

Everyone is part of the food safety chain. Industry must do its part to produce safe food. Government must to its part. And, consumers have a role to play as well.

The PFSE is devoted to this cause: Together: A Food Safe America. The Partnership provides free, science-based, consumer-tested messaging on safe food handling. It covers all foods. It is aligned with safety messaging from the government and leading scientists. And it’s the only organization that brings together the unique collection of BAC! Fighters, from educators to health professionals to cooperative extension staff and more.

Having consistent, repeated messaging that consumers can trust is critical to changing their food handling behavior. That’s the reason the PFSE exists. We can be more effective together than we can separately. One of the reasons PMA was on board with the PFSE from the beginning is that we couldn’t imagine the cacophony of every food/commodity organization, every government agency, and every consumer advocate creating its own messaging around safe food handling. And we couldn’t imagine tackling this on our own. We had to make this easier, more credible, more effective, and more powerful together. And, thus, the PFSE was born.

I believe working together is better. And I believe we need the PFSE to provide resources and a home for the BAC! Fighters who come from so many different organizations. If you believe it as well, please join us. You can email me, kmeans@pma.com, or PFSE executive director Shelley Feist, sfeist@fightbac.org.