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WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today launched a nationwide tour to educate and reinforce to consumers the importance of handling food safely. The cornerstone of the initiative is a new USDA Food Safety Mobile that will serve as a backdrop during the tour of some 100 communities across the country.
"Food safety is top priority for this Administration and food safety education is an important part of our efforts to reduce foodborne illness," said Veneman during the christening of the Mobile at the 2003 Food Safety Summit. "The tour and the Mobile will help educate millions of people about the risks associated with mishandling food and how they can reduce their risk of foodborne illness."
The 35-foot recreational-style vehicle is emblazoned with bold, eye-catching graphics and prominent food safety messages. The Mobile depicts BAC! -- the notorious foodborne bacteria character that provides consumers a memorable message about the four critical steps they must take to keep their food safe: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
"Foodborne illness is preventable," said Dr. Elsa Murano, undersecretary for Food Safety. "We want to empower consumers through education, and the USDA Food Safety Mobile will provide us with face-to-face access to millions of consumers."
The USDA Food Safety Mobile will travel throughout the continental United States, appearing at state and county fairs, schools, libraries, grocery stores, community events, parades, festivals, cooperative extension offices and at events in sponsored by USDA.
Following today's launch, the Mobile begins its journey across America by traveling to the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., April 4-6; to the 2003 Kentucky Derby at the Thunder Over Louisville, Louisville, Ky., on April 12; and to San Antonio, Texas, for Fiesta 2003, April 19-27. You can follow the travels of the Mobile and find useful food safety information at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/foodsafetymobile .
The Mobile project will be operated in partnership with the federal government, industry and local cooperative extension educators. At the Mobile sites, food safety experts will provide food safety information to consumers, as well as demonstrate critical food safety techniques, including the proper usage of food thermometers.
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture