USDA and Michigan State University Join Forces To Promote Food Thermometer Use In Michigan

 
Susan Conley (202) 549-7075
Autumn Canaday (202) 720-9113

WASHINGTON, August 2, 2004 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the state of Michigan are joining forces to promote food thermometer usage when preparing meat and poultry to prevent foodborne illness with an innovative campaign called, "Is it DONE yet?"

Michigan State University's National Food Safety & Toxicology Center, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and its Extension service are partnering with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on a project to increase consumers' use of food thermometers, thereby preventing dangerous foodborne illnesses. The results of the program will help shape FSIS' national approach to future consumer food safety promotions as well as thermometer usage.

USDA's Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa Murano kicked off the "Is it DONE yet?" campaign today at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.

"'Is It Done Yet?' is a consumer-government partnership," said Dr. Murano. "USDA is working aggressively to continue progress in preventing illness and protecting public health. Consumer awareness of basic food safety principles - especially using a food thermometer for checking meat, poultry and seafood as it cooks - can reduce the number of foodborne illnesses significantly."

The use of a food thermometer is essential to ensure that meat and poultry have been cooked sufficiently to eliminate harmful pathogens. FSIS reports that, in the case of hamburgers, even if they are brown in the middle, one in four burgers is still not safely "done yet." A food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the hamburger can indicate if the patty has reached the safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is optimal for killing the dangerous pathogen E. coli O157:H7.

"There are some basic steps that consumers can take to protect themselves, their families and their friends," says Trent Wakenight, MSU's campaign organizer. "We are very fortunate to have formed a partnership with FSIS that aims to increase food thermometer use. A large number of the estimated 76 million cases of foodborne illness per year are preventable."

Using a food thermometer to check when meat or poultry is done also ensures proper cooking lengths in order to provide peak taste and prevent overcooking.

For this campaign, USDA created a special Web site, "IsItDoneYet.gov" with information and food safety guidelines for the use of food thermometers.

FSIS' Food Safety Mobile, a 35-foot recreational vehicle decorated with food safety characters and equipped to spread the message of food safety, will be featured at campaign stops in Kent, Ingham and Washtenaw counties from August 2nd through August 15th. Interactive games, cooking demonstrations and food safety information will also be featured.

For more information about food thermometer use, visit: www.IsItDoneYet.gov. For more information in English and Spanish, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or TTY: 1-800-256-7072. The year-round hotline can be called Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. An extensive selection of timely food safety messages also is available at the same number 24 hours a day. Information can be accessed on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov. E-mail inquiries can be directed to mphotline.fsis@usda.gov.
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Last Modified Aug 28, 2013