Summary: Interactive Collaborative Planning Process
Workshop: Planning the Future of Food
Safety Education, facilitated by
Kornbluh, Feola & Kornbluh
version for printing*
- Description and Overview of the Process
- Results of the Data Collection
- Summary of Interactive Collaborative Planning Process
- Summary of Suggested Regional Initiatives
More than 600 people attended the national conference on food
safety education, representing 48 U.S. states and educators from all
over the world. By entering responses to an online Planning Tool at
kiosks throughout the conference center, attendees voiced their
thoughts regarding their goals, food safety education needs, and
provided information on their budgets and organizations.
On the last day of the conference, this data – along with the
knowledge and experiences gleaned from the conference itself – were
used to create an Interactive Collaborative Planning Process.
Everyone’s knowledge, experience, and best ideas were brought to the
fore as regional teams gathered to put theory into action – to think
globally and act locally.
From the information gathered, participants drew knowledge about
overall objectives, target audiences, education gaps, and budget
As teams, they then merged the information with knowledge drawn
from conference sessions to identify actions they could take.
This document summarizes information from the Planning Tool and
provides a list of some of the initiatives suggested during the
regional teams’ brainstorming.
Description and Overview of the Process
The Interactive Collaborative Planning Process was created to
provide an opportunity for participants of the conference to
immediately put into action new ideas and to support the theme of
the conference – Thinking Globally–Working Locally.
The process was designed to strengthen the conference experience
and promote collaborative action at the regional level.
- Creating the Planning Tool
The online web-based Planning Tool was created through the
involvement of the Conference Planning Committee and the feedback
of many food safety educators and administrators from around the
country. The questions were developed to collect data that would
be useful in the development of future food safety products and
services, as well as helping to improve the performance and
quality of current practices. Questions were developed as "forced
choice" priorities and "open response" text formats to maximize
the usefulness and coherence of the resulting data.
The Planning Tool contained the following questions:
- Please rank your top 5 food safety education priorities for
the next year.
- Rank your top 3 primary target audiences.
- Which 5 tools or resources would best help you accomplish
your food safety education goals?
- Rank the top 5 sources you most often use to obtain food
safety education information, tools, and resources.
- Rank the 3 most significant gaps in food safety education
materials or research.
- How can we best continue communication among food safety
educators after this conference ends?
- Is your organization a member of a food safety partnership
whose structure includes members from industry, academia,
government, and consumer organizations?
- What is the name and contact information for one
- At what level is the partnership?
- How much of your professional time is spent developing and
conducting food safety education programs?
- What is your organization's average annual budget for food
safety education programs? (Please include external funding.)
- What is your professional affiliation?
- Please indicate the state or country where you work.
- Collecting the Data
The tool was available online during the conference and was
heavily publicized to encourage participation. Through the use of
incentives and regular reminders, 82 percent of the attending
participants completed the tool before the end of the third day.
Attendees could complete the tool through the use of kiosks
available at the conference facility or through their own
computers and Internet connections.
Summarizing and Presenting the Data
Once the data were collected at the conference, the Conference
Planning Committee analyzed the information to establish important
highlights and extract whatever key priorities were suggested by
the responses. The summary of the data was presented to the entire
plenary session in the Collaborative Planning segment on the final
day of the conference.
A summary of the data is included in this document and will
also be included with the published Conference Proceedings.
For the final regional planning session, attendees were
seated at tables by region so that new relationships could be
established and potential actions and initiatives could be
discussed in a regional context.
Once the data had been presented, attendees were led
through a series of discussions by volunteer facilitators who
had been briefed and trained by the Conference Planning
Committee. The facilitators were responsible for capturing key
themes and contacts that emerged from the discussions. The
facilitators asked the following questions to initiate and
focus the conversations:
- Thinking Globally – "As you reflect on the conference,
where do you think we, as a food safety community, need to
focus? What should be our to-do list?"
- Working Locally – "What is a high-impact initiative on
which you can collaborate regionally?"
- Reporting of Regional Discussions
At the conclusion of these regional conversations and
planning session, selected groups reported their results and
proposed action plans to the entire conference as examples of
the work that had been done. The results of regional
conversations were captured and are summarized in this
document and will be including in the published Conference
Results of the Data Collection
The Planning Tool collected 511 responses during the course
of the conference (82 percent of conference participants). The
Planning Tool yielded the following results:
- Significant Demographics
- Professional Affiliations
- 23.7% work with a Federal Agency
- 23.3% work with a University Extension Service
- 12.4% work with local or State health departments (6.4%
local, 6% State)
- 8.5% work with a College or University
- 7.8% work with the Food Industry
- Time Allocated
Respondents were asked to designate an approximate
percentage of their work hours dedicated to food safety
- Over 30% spend less than 25% of their time on food safety
- Approximately 25% spend from 25-50% of their time on food
- Approximately 15% spend 50-75% of their time on food safety
- Approximately 15% spend 75-100% of their time on food safety
- Size of Annual Food Safety Budgets
Respondents were asked to estimate the total annual
budget of their organization allocated to food safety
- Approximately 40% have annual food safety education budgets
of over $25,000.
- Over 20% have an annual food safety budget of less than
- Slightly over 10% have annual food safety budgets of over $1
Of those with budgets over $1 million, 65% are Federal
agencies, 12% are university extension, 12% are other
State and local agencies, about 4% are food service
industry related, and about 2% are health care
- Geographical Representation
Respondents represented 48 U.S. states and educators from all
over the world. Foreign representation included: Australia,
Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia,
Ecuador, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, and the United
Kingdom (and Wales).
- Food Safety Partnerships
Sixty-five percent of conference attendees are members of
food safety partnerships. These partnerships are formed
under Federal, national, or State auspices and include
members from industry, academia, government, and consumer
organizations. A significant number of these partnerships –
38% – are organized at the State level.
- Sources of Food Safety Information and Resources
The respondents look primarily to the Federal agencies
(USDA/FSIS, FDA, and the CDC) as sources to obtain food safety
education information, tools, and resources. Many respondents
cited the Cooperative Extension Service as their primary source.
The Internet has become a major vehicle for food safety
information according to the respondents. Many web sites and other
sources of information where identified by respondents,
particularly for specific material and information requirements.
There is extensive use of the
www.foodsafety.gov Web site.
- Food Safety Education Priorities
One of the most important questions posed by the planning
tool, asked about the respondents’ greatest food safety
education priorities for the coming year. Among all
- The highest priority among respondents overall was that of
training food service workers and managers. Over 42% of all
respondents selected this as their first or second highest
- The next highest priority was that of promoting hand
- Educating children, ranked third.
- The fourth highest priority for the respondents as a group
was promoting the principles of Fight BAC!®.
- Many respondents also indicated that educating the
public about specific pathogens and evaluating existing food
safety education programs were high priorities.
- For the subset of respondents who work for the food
industry, their highest priority by far was the food safety
education of culturally diverse audiences. Approximately 64% of
industry representatives selected this as their highest
priority. Other goals mirrored those of the group as a whole.
- For those representing Federal agencies, the most
significant priority was addressing food biosecurity. Almost 40%
of Federal agency respondents selected this priority as their
first or second highest priority.
- Several priorities emerged as particularly high priorities
in individual regions. For example, respondents from the
Northwest region selected the priority of educating higher risk
populations as one the most important in the coming year.
Respondents from the Western region indicated that increasing
food science literacy was a very high priority – higher than
that suggested by those from other regions and the respondents
as a whole.
- Target Audience for Food Safety Education
Once again the data showed food service workers
as the highest priority target audience for the coming year. Over
52% of respondents indicated that food service workers were their
first or second highest priority target audience.
Other target audiences identified included the general public,
educating children, educating the school community, educating
parents of young children, and educating seniors – in that order.
Those in the Northwest region also identified public health
officials as a principal target audience. While those in the North
Central Region added the target group of caregivers to their
highest priority list.
- Tools and Resources
Respondents were asked to identify those tools and resources
that would be most helpful to them in their work.
The most important tool according to respondents is print
publications for consumers. This is followed by a desire for
materials and programs on video and materials on CD-ROM. Many
respondents are looking for web-based materials that can be
downloaded through the Internet. And, of course, many respondents
are looking for food safety education materials designed for food
- Material and Research Gaps
Respondents were asked to identify the gaps in food safety
education materials, material availability, and food safety
- Respondents overall indicated that that biggest gap was in
food safety education materials in languages other than English.
About 35% of all respondents identified this as their first or
second highest priority. Some of the language gaps identified:
Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese,
- Approximately 37% of respondents identified low literacy
materials as their first or second highest priority gap.
- Other gaps included the lack of evaluation tools for food
safety education programs and the lack of sufficient consumer
behavior research findings. Respondents also suggested more
timely release of foodborne illness data.
- Continued Communication
When respondents were asked how they would suggest the food
safety community stay connected and in communication after the
conference was over, a variety of responses were received.
Most respondents suggested the use of focused listservs and
E-mail newsletters. Other suggestions included regularly
scheduled "meet me" conference calls, regular state and
national conferences, the use of web-site forums, as well as
creating special sessions for food safety educators at
Summary of Interactive Collaborative Planning Process
On the last day of the conference, more than 500 attendees
participating in the final session and planning process.
Conference participants were grouped with other attendees from
the same geographical region to create teams and were joined by
a volunteer facilitator.
- "Thinking Globally"
The regional discussion began with the question of what the
food safety community, thinking globally as a whole, should be
working on in 2003. These conversations were wide ranging and
covered many more topics than can be summarized adequately
here. The conclusion of many of these conversations, however,
led to the following themes, which emerged across regions.
- Develop more effective mass media communication strategies
to promote food safety.
- Increase focus on educating children through the school
curriculum, their parents, and teachers.
- Create more aggressive standards for food safety
certification and procedures.
- Increase focus on training food service workers and
- Build greater emphasis on educating culturally diverse and
low literacy groups.
- Develop more effective and user-friendly evaluation of food
safety education – find out what really works to change
- Support much greater national and, particularly,
international collaboration and coordination.
Several themes emerged strongly in the regional
conversations that did not show as prominently in the Planning
Tool data. The consensus from the regional teams revealed an
emphasis on developing more effective mass media communication
strategies – a concept not highlighted in the Planning Tool
data. Another example was the group’s strong emphasis on
developing much greater collaboration and coordination across
- "Working Locally"
For the second half of the Interactive Planning Process,
facilitators led the regional teams to discuss how they might
"work locally" with specific initiatives would most benefit
from regional collaboration. These conversations among the
regional teams produced outcomes that ranged from simply
exploring ideas to developing action plans and time lines for
implementation of proposed initiatives.
Most suggested regional collaboration initiatives fell into
one or more of the following categories:
- Creating more effective and formal regional partnerships to
share resources and information.
- Collaboration on mass media promotional ideas.
- Opportunities for industry, supermarket, and government
collaboration on specific educational initiatives.
- Customizing promotional and educational approaches to
Summary of Suggested Regional Initiatives
The following represents a summary of the action outcomes
suggested by the regional teams. These initiatives were
developed in response to the question: "What is a high-impact
initiative on which you can collaborate regionally?" The
suggested initiatives are organized by region.
- Southeast Region
- Develop a collaborative, regional hand washing campaign
using materials that are culturally and age appropriate with
strong attention to innovative design.
- Institute a campaign to increase food safety
awareness/messages on television cooking shows and media
- Food safety educators begin work with restaurants/fast
food/supermarkets to coordinate with vendors and increase food
safety messages on take-out packaging using existing and new
- Create enhanced coordination and interaction between Florida
and Alabama extension specialists on specific project
initiatives. Communication network will be established with each
member by E-mail.
- Create high-impact food safety education program in
elementary schools with strong focus on kindergarten.
- Work with local supermarkets and grocery stores to provide a
disposable thermometer with packaged meat and poultry products.
Include enhanced video training for store employees.
- Develop more complete database of existing food safety
education materials available through web and catalogs.
- Mid-Atlantic Region
- Strengthen local coordination through regular regional
meetings and enhanced electronic communication, including
- Work with local media (radio) and local health departments
to do a "food safety minute" in partnership with local sponsor
(e.g., Giant Food, McDonald’s, local restaurants, etc.).
- Develop a video for PTA (parent and teacher association)
regional meetings. Schedule presentations for the first meeting
of the year. Build local capacity by enhanced "train the
trainer" programs for school presenters.
- Identify the main health communication need of the regional
area and focus intense efforts on that issue. Examples include
seafood and wild game in the local region. Create symbols (such
as irradiation symbol) that will help in the communication
effort. Identify specific audiences and communication channels.
Tie in efforts to state and national professional associates to
open the dialogue. Have annual regional food safety meetings to
exchange information and other resources. Gaps will be
identified so that education efforts do not miss anyone.
Identify critical audiences that need to be targeted
(legislators, health inspectors, immigrants who are not
residents, and other closed communities).
- Develop communication effort focused on local food safety
managers. Emphasize customer impact of proper handling and
specific local requirements. Include public service
announcements (PSA’s) to drive the message home.
- Build school-based education initiative. Include a Sesame
Street-style sing-a-long and youngsters becoming "ambassadors"
for proper hand washing. Use PSA’s. Begin with pilot study with
a few schools – target parents – "Did your child tell you…?"
- Initiate a regional conference to focus on culturally
diverse audiences. The conference will lead to a campaign to
reach managers and establishment owners with specific guidelines
- Northeast Region
- Pro-active use of existing major meetings, such as the
regional food safety meeting of the Northeast Food and Drug
Officials Association in May 2003, to encourage regional
planning and coordination. Initiate a strategy to create an
inspector certification program.
- Work through regional grocery chain to provide shopper
education. Involve Federal government partnering with the Ad
Council to get Fight BAC!® oven mitts, aprons, etc., in popular
stores, e.g., Wal-Mart. Collaboration through the Food Safety
Training and Education Alliance Web site:
- Midwest Region
- Develop a strategy to provide greater credibility, accuracy,
and accessibility to food safety education materials. Selected
committee members will serve as reviewers of new materials.
- Develop programs and support systems to increase monitoring
- Develop and promote a national single source for immediate
food safety information.
- Develop State-level coordination to address and manage
potential turf issues, minimize duplication of efforts, and keep
people informed of available resources.
- Establish a regional food safety conference.
- Rocky Mountain Region
- Build strengthened coordination through the Rocky Mountain
Food Safety annual conference. Increase information sharing
through enhanced E-mail communication.
- Western Region
- Create work group for sharing resources and information flow
across FDA, USDA, Extension Service, and industry.
- Focus on creating innovative programming for seniors in Los
Angeles County, including coordination of Fight BAC!®
- Create a food safety "media advisory committee" to better
understand and utilize the media in coordinated regional
- Expand Fight BAC!® messages to include Choose Food for
Safety. Annually award a nationally known chef with a
multi-organization funded award (e.g., FDA, USDA, American
Dietetic Association, National Restaurant Association, etc.).
Give award at a chef’s event, followed by continuing publicity
and press releases. At the local level, contact specific cooking
shows and other local initiatives (e.g., county fair, Made in
Hawaii Festival, etc.) to incorporate food safety practices.
- Southwest Region
- Work with local legislature and city council to support food
safety in schools and local restaurants. Include Fight BAC!®
bandages and basket of hand washing supplies for school
- Develop regional (Texas) collaboration venues and
conferences on regular basis.
- Develop a coordinated "source" for all food safety training
- Work with Department of Health to establish "training
schedule" listing all certification programs on a local and
- Develop coordinated strategy to teach food safety in
- Develop a listserv for enhanced international coordination
and resource sharing. Integrate with current web-based
organizations. Report on international education initiatives and
share web-based materials.
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March 03, 2003