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Keep food safe in December

Dangerous foodWhen: December

What: After a long trip to the grocery store, unpacking food can be a huge annoyance. So a person shoves all of the fruits in the drawer and tosses the eggs on the shelf. And then they might put the pack of raw chicken next to the eggs and produce, thinking they’ll get to breaking it up and freezing it later. They don’t realize what a risk they are taking in terms of food safety. Promote the importance of proper food handling during Worldwide Food Service Safety Month.

Background: Food safety is a big concern these days, but sometimes it can be easy to forget the rules. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Undercooked meat can lead to a number of illnesses. Although Worldwide Food Service targets professional food service, it is serves to remind people at home to follow food safety guidelines.

Story Pitch: A number of groups and organizations can pitch around Worldwide Food Service Safety Month. School cafeterias will want to promote the importance of proper food safety and hand washing to avoid cross-contamination of foods. In addition, they should make note to discuss proper food safety with children and encourage vigorous hand-washing when dealing with food. Commercial kitchens may note the importance of handling raw meats properly, alerting people to the dangers of raw meat contamination. Meanwhile, culinary schools may offer suggestions and tips on how to properly prepare foods in the home, noting proper cooking temperatures for raw meats as well as good hand-washing techniques. Retailers can also get in on this event by promoting products that help aid against cross-contamination.

Story Hook:  According to the World Health Organization, more than 200 diseases are spread through food. Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • What is the proper internal temperature for cooked chicken? Pork? Beef?
  • What are some illnesses spread through uncooked or undercooked foods?
  • What food safety regulations are in place for restaurants and commercial kitchens?
  • What are some proper hand-washing techniques after handling raw meat?

Tips: A chef in a commercial restaurant who adheres to strict food safety guidelines could have some tips on how to properly maintain a clean kitchen. In addition, a home cook may offer suggestions on how to best handle food safety in the home.

Resources:

National Environmental Health Association
(303) 691-9490
staff(at)neha.og
www.neha.org

NSF International
(734) 769-8010
info(at)nsf.org
www.nsf.org

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(888) 463-6332
www.fda.gov

U.S. Department of Agriculture
(202) 720-2791
www.usda.gov

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