|Food Safety and Inspection
United States Department of Agriculture
Washington, D.C. 20250-3700
Food Safety Education
(This is the text-only, accessible version of the report. An
illustrated PDF version is also available.)
A Public Health Vision
As emphasized by Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa A. Murano, "foodborne illness is preventable. We want to empower consumers through education and the USDA Food Safety Mobile provides us with face-to-face access to consumers."
This initiative is only one of many public health actions being taken by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service under the direction of Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee.
The USDA Food Safety Mobile is a component of the Agency's public health vision (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/oa/ programs/vision071003.htm).
The Mobile is part of an education program that is both broad-based and targeted.
With the USDA Food Safety Mobile, we are able to reach people without waiting for them to come find us—people who would not normally reach out themselves for information on safe food handling—but people who are eager to hear our message.
“In addition, this is a program that is innovative and collaborative, Murano said. "With our grassroots partners, we are able to take our education programs to a whole new level," she said.
This program and the Agency's public health commitment are important, Murano said. "We need to take every action we can. We need to address each step along the food safety chain: farms, slaughter plants, processing plants, transport, retail establishments—and consumers’ homes. The cumulative effect of these initiatives is safer food and a healthier Nation. We have an historic opportunity to not only do what is right, but what is needed," she said.
USDA Takes its Message to America
Launched in March 2003 by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa A. Murano, the USDA Food Safety Mobile is demonstrating the Department's commitment to food safety and public health. “The tour and the Mobile will help educate millions of people,” said Agriculture Secretary Veneman.
With this mobile marketing initiative, USDA is reaching out to various publics across the country— making contact with people who may not seek out safe food handling information.
Since its launch, the USDA Food Safety Mobile has taken its message about safe food handling to consumers in their neighborhoods and communities. From the Indianapolis 500 to the Navajo Nation Fair, the USDA Food Safety Mobile is directly reaching audiences across America.
What is Mobile Marketing?
Commercial companies from Hershey’s Chocolate to C–SPAN are fielding fleets of mobile units, taking their messages and their products to America's doorstep. This type of non-traditional marketing is capturing more commercial marketing dollars than ever before.
Why? Commercial companies are beginning to question the long-range viability of traditional advertising, such as the return on high-dollar television advertising. The chief marketing executive for General Motors acknowledges that they are "moving hundreds of millions of dollars to non-traditional programs."
One non-traditional program corporate America is turning to is “experiential marketing.” This marketing concept focuses on reaching out to new publics, interacting with them, and providing consumers an “experience” with their corporation or product. One key delivery tool for experiential marketing is mobile marketing. It provides two major benefits:
Utilizing these innovative non-traditional marketing approaches, USDA is in a unique position: using marketing innovations to reach audiences never before reached and “selling” public health behaviors.
From Washington, DC, to California
The Food Safety Mobile and various representatives from the Department have visited communities across the Nation. Dr. Elsa A. Murano, Under Secretary for Food Safety, visited the Greater Philadelphia Area Food Bank with Eric M. Bost, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, and a Philadelphia celebrity chef. Dr. Garry L. McKee, Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, visited Frontier Days in Cheyenne, WY.
In Large Cities and Small Towns
USDA is taking safe food handling messages to America’s neighborhoods.
Destined to turn heads as it treks down the highways, the USDA Food Mobile is covered with colorful graphics and features the notorious BAC!—the foodborne bacteria that can make people sick. Also depicted are the safe food handling practices that beat BAC! back: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
At every stop—fairs, schools, senior demonstrations, centers, grocery stores, parades—the Mobile s a traveling educational tool.
Accompanied by food safety experts from the Food Safety and Inspection Service—frequently in partnership with local food safety educators— the USDA Food Safety Mobile offers:
We’re Going to People in Their Own Neighborhoods
Showing Them the Steps to Food Safety
As commercial marketers recognize, interacting with consumers is the key to establishing a lasting impression—and affecting consumer behavior.
The USDA Food Safety Mobile is the perfect platform for interacting with consumers.
Costumed characters BAC! and Thermy™, pull crowds of children to the Mobile, with their parents in tow. Then, USDA's food safety experts demonstrate the "how-to’s" of food safety and answer questions.
"Nothing teaches people quicker than seeing safe food handling in action. When we show them how to cook hamburgers safely—how to use a food thermometer, how to clean their hands—then they have a whole new understanding of the actions they need to take," says Under Secretary Dr. Elsa A. Murano.
And People Tell Us
“I can’t believe USDA is coming right here to us!”
“We want you out here telling us about this...It’s important!”
“Hey, this is so great! People really need this information.”
We’re Creating New Partnerships
One of the primary goals of the USDA Food Safety Mobile is to establish and develop partnerships at the local level. USDA and FSIS have a long history with many organizations interested in food safety. The value added by these new and growing partnerships is enormous. The Mobile would not be successful without them.
Together, we form a team. For the communities the Mobile visits, FSIS provides the total package—representatives from the national level teamed with their community leaders. Working side by side, they have answers for consumers—whether it’s a national issue or a local issue.
Partners with the USDA Food Safety Mobile come from all over the community:
Looking at the Numbers
The full impact of mobile marketing cannot be captured with numbers. Mobile marketing focuses on quality interaction and the long-term benefit of building trust.
But the numbers also tell a story that is significant. From March 2003 through November 2003:
Reaching More Consumers Through Media
Reaching America...One Community at a Time.
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