FMI Foundation and the Partnership for Food Safety Education Come Together to Combat Foodborne Illness at Home


Foodborne illness is dangerous and preventable. By joining forces with the Partnership for Food Safety Education, FMI Foundation is taking a leadership role in helping consumers be more food safe at home by strengthening a popular and ubiquitous consumer resource: recipes.  


Recipe Style Guide 

Since November 2017, FMI Foundation, through collaboration, with the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE), has been working toward a new standard designed to benefit the consumer and decrease foodborne illness at home. It’s a simple, but impactful, concept. Consumers consistently report needing and using recipes, but struggle with food safe practices. Incorporating food safety instructions into recipes helps solve a public health problem by meeting consumers where they are.  

In identifying a grant recipient and hands on collaborator to help reduce consumer risk of foodborne illness at home, there’s no need to look any further than the Partnership for Food Safety Education, a leader in this area. Embodying an active network of 13,000 health and food safety educators including 26 partner organizations and Federal liaisons, PFSE is well-positioned to develop, implement, and advance a trusted, consistent, science-based recipe standard.

The journey to safer recipes has been a deliberate and linear one informed by a study on consumer poultry and cooking practices which concluded not only that a deficit in food safety awareness exists among consumers, but also that imbedding food safety instructions into recipes would significantly improve food safety behaviors. With this, a 10-step process was defined to bring the new recipe standard home. To date, six of 10 stages are complete:

  • Identifying research gaps to be filled to provide scientific justification for a comprehensive set of food safety instruction standards for consumer recipes;
  • Developing a proposed new standard for writing recipes inclusive of food safety instructions;
  • Vetting of the new proposed standard with PFSE board members and/or review committee for input before conducting final gap-filling research;
  • Conducting additional research to fill the gap (if needed) to add/refine food safety instructions within the new recipe-writing standard;
  • Reviewing and finalizing revised standard (incorporating findings from additional research); and
  • Vetting final proposed standard with two or three key food editors/recipe developers for feedback before launching.

Key insights have been identified through consultations with the scientific community including the importance of prioritizing food safety instructions for inclusion so that the additional information does not become overwhelming and, subsequently, ignored. These prioritized areas include handwashing and temperature control, as they are the aspects most often related to food safety breakdown in the home.

Sample language to be used in recipes may include:

Temperature

  • Cook until internal temperature reaches XX (fill in the blank and include chart with specific foods) on food thermometer.

Hand Washing

  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • (Include this at the beginning of each recipe and after each touch of raw meats, poultry, seafood or eggs)

Cross Contamination

  • Wash (insert cutting board, counter, utensil, serving plate) after touching raw meats, poultry, seafood or eggs).
  • Do not reuse marinades used on raw foods.
  • Do not rinse raw poultry or meat.

Produce

  • Gently rub produce under cold running water.
  • Scrub firm produce with clean vegetable brush.

 

FMI and PFSE’s next steps are to take the standard public with a launch to significant food and recipe organizations, publishing houses, and to a broader audience of food influencers with media briefings and presentations at related conferences. The project will come full-circle with PFSE formulating a team to modify existing recipes to the new recipe standard.