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USDA, Alvin and the Chipmunks team up to reduce foodborne illness

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Tue, Oct 20th 2015 04:45 pm

In an effort to educate children and their families about the importance of food safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ad Council are joining 20th Century FOX to launch a series of public service advertisements (PSAs) featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks. The PSAs use footage from the upcoming film "Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Road Chip" to introduce viewers to four steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill.

An estimated 1 in 6 (48 million) Americans get sick from foodborne illness each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children are among the most vulnerable to food poisoning, because their immune systems are still developing, so caregivers need to take extra precautions when preparing food for children under 5.
The partnership includes TV, radio, out-of-home and Web advertising. Parents and children can also find kid-friendly activities that further reinforce the food safety steps by visiting FoodSafety.gov.

"Young children are at a higher risk for foodborne illness, and keeping them safe is a top priority for FSIS," Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Alfred Almanza said. "These familiar characters offer USDA a great opportunity to communicate this valuable public health message in a way to get the attention of children and parents."

The new PSAs are an extension of USDA and Ad Council's Food Safe Families campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the risk of foodborne illness and encourage families to learn and practice key steps that will help everyone stay safe from foodborne illness through the following safe food handling behaviors:

Clean: Wash hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw food. Clean all surfaces and utensils with soap and hot water. Wash all produce under running water before eating, cutting or cooking.

Separate: Use separate plates and utensils to avoid cross-contamination between raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs and foods that are ready to eat (like already-cooked foods or raw vegetables).

Cook: Cook foods to the safe temperature by using a food thermometer.

Chill: Chill foods promptly if not consuming immediately after cooking. Don't leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours, or one hour if temperature is above 90°F.

Consumers can see these new PSAs and learn more about key food safety practices at Foodsafety.gov, by following @USDAFoodSafety on Twitter, and by "Liking" Facebook.com/FoodSafety.gov. Consumers with questions about food safety, can call the USDA meat and poultry hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or chat live with a food safety specialist at AskKaren.gov (available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time weekdays - in English or Spanish).

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