FSIS Recognized Twice for 2020 Food Safety Education Efforts
The FSIS Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education (OPACE) was recognized by the National Association of Government Communicators with the 2021 Blue Pencil & Gold Screen (BP&GS) Award. This annual international awards program recognizes superior government communication products and those who produce them. The competitors include local, state and federal communicators. OPACE was recognized for two efforts: the Food Safety Education Conference and the Thanksgiving Food Safety Campaign.
2020 Food Safety Education Conference
Category: Community Engagement Forum
Food safety is needed more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic as families have been preparing more food at home and many of those individuals are novice cooks.
The Agency held a successful consumer food safety education meeting in 2020 by going virtual. More than 1,000 people signed up to learn the latest research, innovative ways to prevent food poisoning and how food allergens and recalls can be tracked in real-time.
We brought together academia, scientists and industry giants Amazon and Disney — who helped draw participants — to share their research. We invited food safety advocates associated with the Partnership for Food Safety Education (with an active network of health and food safety educators); food industry representatives (restaurants, grocery stores, food transportation companies, etc.); and local government health offices (including school cafeteria managers and nutritionists).
The outcome included an agreement that government agencies, academia, food safety advocates and industry will work collaboratively on future research and share the results of scientific studies to further combat foodborne illness.
Project Lead for the conference was Jesus Garcia.
Team members included: Sally Jones, Gina Kouba, William Lanier, Julie Lastra, Laura Scott, Roxanne Smith, and Meredith Carothers. Team members who are no longer with FSIS included Christopher Bernstein, Chrystal Okonta and Crystal Essiaw.
Thanksgiving Food Safety Campaign
Category: Educational or Promotional Campaign (less than $100,000)
Every year, FSIS sends out food safety messages on many platforms around Thanksgiving, the biggest food holiday of the year. The pandemic presented challenges such as competition for news coverage and the media tour had to be completed remotely, requiring adaptation to new platforms.
For 2020, the approach was to direct consumers who had food safety questions to USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline. The campaign used traditional media, social media, a press release, blogs and graphics, but was unique because it facilitated two-way communication. We spread food safety messages to the public and the public also reached us via the Hotline, even on Thanksgiving Day, through multiple platforms. These included webforms, emails and live chats to help consumers prepare their Thanksgiving meals safely.
The target audiences were those who prepare food for their family or household for Thanksgiving. Emphasis was placed on households who have novice cooks, high-risk family members, including young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with a compromised immune system.
The total estimated cost was $25,000. Campaign messaging was seen on 8.8 million screens, including impressions from traditional media, social media, web views and FAQ views. The hotline received 2,851 inquiries.
Hotline staff: Archie Magoulas, Clara Yuvienco, Meredith Carothers, Maribel Alonso (former FSIS), Lynn Williams, Sandie Stasiak.
FSES Public Affairs Staff: Laura Scott, Jesse Garcia, Crystal Essiaw (former FSIS)
OPACE Public Affairs Staff (Pitching): Buck McKay, Maria Machuca, Veronika Pfaeffle (former FSIS), Spencer Pretecrum, Laura Reiser, Suzanne Hensell, Leo O’Drudy, Felicia Thompson