FSIS takes next step in consumer food safety research

Meatingplace, By Lisa M. Keefe on 11/21/2017

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced its intent to collect information from focus groups on consumer food safety knowledge, attitudes and practices, according to a Federal Register notice.

FSIS also is looking to measure the impact of its own food safety messages and determine if they influenced consumer food safety knowledge and behavior.

FSIS’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education (OPACE) oversees consumer education programs.

“OPACE strives to continuously increase consumer awareness of recommended food safety practices and to improve food-handling behaviors at home,” the notice said. “Findings from the proposed focus group research will provide insight into how to effectively inform consumers about recommended safe food handling practices.”

The results of the research will be used to enhance messaging to improve consumers’ food safety behaviors and help prevent foodborne illness, the agency said. Findings from the focus group research will provide insight into how to effectively inform consumers about recommended safe food handling practices.

Through a third-party research firm, FSIS plans to conduct two series of focus groups, each with 16 panels of adults. The first series will be conducted in fiscal year 2018.

Meat and poultry preparation

This 2018 research will include panels of English-speaking and Spanish-speaking adults who have children younger than 18 years old, and English-speaking adults who have intentionally prepared meat or poultry dishes at home to be served undercooked or raw, such as chicken liver pate, hamburgers cooked rare or medium rare, kibbeh, raw meat sandwiches, or beef tartare.

A second series of focus groups will be conducted in FY 2020, and the topics for these groups have yet to be determined.

FSIS invites comments on whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of FSIS’s functions; the accuracy of FSIS’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the method and assumptions used; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical or other technological collection techniques.

Comments are due on or before January 19, 2018, and can be submitted online.