Foodborne illness is a growing issue and c-stores are looking to better protect customers as foodservice plays a larger role for the industry.
The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has joined the nonprofit Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) to help educate consumers on the steps they can take while handling food to reduce the risk of a foodborne illness.
An estimated one in six Americans contracts a foodborne illness every year, and 128,000 Americans are hospitalized every year because of these illnesses. As more convenience stores grow sales of foodservice and fresh food offers, protecting consumers is increasingly driving retailers to enhance their companywide focus on a food safety and food handling culture.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education created the Fight BAC! campaign, an education program that uses scientifically-based recommendations from an extensive consumer research process to help educate consumers on the steps they can take to minimize risks related to food safety.
“September is National Food Safety Education Month but food safety is an issue that our members take seriously throughout the year. Working with PFSE will help our members find new resources and ideas to educate their customers on how to maintain the integrity and quality of the food sold after they leave a convenience store—or any retail channel that sells food,” said NACS Vice President of Strategic Industry Initiatives Jeff Lenard.
“NACS members are leaders in their communities and The Partnership for Food Safety Education looks forward to all the ways we can collaborate to connect with people about the importance of safe food handling. Together, we’ll be working on helping families nationwide reduce the risk of foodborne illness and its horrible health impacts,” said Shelley Feist, executive director of The Partnership for Food Safety Education.
The “Fight BAC!, Keep Food Safe From Bacteria” national consumer outreach materials are accessible online at www.fightbac.org and used by a national network of consumers, teachers, dietitians, public health officials and extension agents across the United States.
“Food safety and public health officials agree that consumers, as the last stop in the farm-to-fork continuum, have an important role to play in reducing their risk of foodborne illness. Our industry, which serves about 165 million customers every day, can help broadly communicate important messages related to food safety,” said Lenard.