|Script: ask Karen Chat
Welcome to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety
at home podcast series. These podcasts were designed with
you in mind - the consumer - who purchases and prepares meat, poultry
and processed meat, egg products for your family and friends.
Each episode will bring you a different food safety topic ranging
from safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and
processed egg products to the importance of keeping foods safe during
a power outage.
So sit back, turn up the volume and listen in.
Welcome to “Food Safety at Home.” This is Kathy Bernard with the
Food Safety and Inspection Service. I’m your host for this
segment. With me today is Tina Hanes, Technical Information
Specialist from FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Tina and I
will discuss the new food safety “chat” feature available on
FSIS’ Web site.
Hello Tina, welcome to the show.
Thank you Kathy. I’m pleased to be here.
FSIS upgraded its virtual representative automated response
system, “Ask Karen,” to include a live chat feature. This is a
new tool for consumers to use, to ask food safety questions that
will bridge the gap between the self-service “Ask Karen”
database and assisted telephone service.
The “Ask Karen” system was first launched in April of 2004 and
upgraded in April of 2009. The live chat feature adds additional
services to assist consumers.
Customers with Internet access anywhere in the world can now
chat with a technical information specialist from FSIS’ Food
Safety Education Staff, who will answer, in real time, your food
Wow! That sounds quick and simple. You can “Ask Karen” food
safety questions 24/7; does this mean that you can chat about
food safety 24/7?
Live chat is available from 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday,
Eastern Time except federal holidays. When the chat is not open,
consumers can still use "Ask Karen" to get help with food safety
questions. All they have to do is type a question into the
designated box on the "Ask Karen" Web page to search the
database to view questions and answers. For access to the chat
feature, go to askKaren.gov, that's
askKaren.gov or the FSIS
homepage and click on the "live chat" link.
Can you just ask food safety questions instead of chatting live?
The “Ask Karen” feature is designed for users to view questions
and answers and also ask questions about various food safety
topics, for example, storage and preparation, food recalls and
other topics related to meat, poultry, and egg products.
What other ways can consumers access FSIS’ food safety
They can visit the FSIS Web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov, or talk
to one of our food safety specialists through the MPHotline at
1-888-MPHotline. That’s 1-888-674-6854.
That’s it for this week. We’ve been talking to Tina Hanes from
the FSIS’ Food Safety Education Staff. Thank you so much Tina,
for discussing FSIS’ new food safety chat feature.
I’m Kathy Bernard and I’d like to thank you for joining us for
this episode of “Food Safety at Home.” And remember, “Be Food
Well, that's all for this time. Thanks for joining us today
for another episode of food safety at home!
For answers to your food safety questions call USDA's toll-free
Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline. That's 1-888-674-6854.
You can also get answers to food safety questions online from our
virtual representative "Ask Karen" at
Let us know what you think of this podcast by sending your comments
Thanks for tuning in.
February 23, 2010