Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the co-chairs of the Obama Administration's Food Safety Working Group, unveiled a new consumer website.
The website, which is designed to help consumers and families get all the latest information on food safety and food recalls in one convenient place, features information from all the agencies across the federal government that deal with critical food and food safety information, including preventive tips about how to handle food safely, alerts on life-saving food recalls, and the latest news from the key agencies.
With this new tool, consumers are provided with one easy place to sign up to receive email and RSS alerts on recalled or potentially unsafe food, as well as get information from the top scientific experts across the government on food safety. Later phases of the site to be launched will include recall feeds for texting and mobile phones.
The website will also feature a foodsafety.gov widget that the public and the media are encouraged to download and promote on their webites and social networking sites. The widget will instantly update viewers with the latest food safety recalls and will be a valuable public health and safety tool.
Praise for the new site
Leaders from HHS and USDA praised the new site and said it would be a valuable tool in their efforts to keep our food supply safe and consumers healthy.
"Protecting the health and well-being of the American people is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government. Our new and innovative approach to connecting consumers to food safety information in an easy and timely manner is a critical improvement in this effort," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"The highest mission of any government is keeping its citizens safe. In this administration, we see public health as an essential part of that mission and this new website as an essential way we will can help keep people safe from unhealthy food and food handling practices and up-to-date on critical food recalls," Secretary Sebelius said. "Consumers no longer will have to search around in different places trying to figure out which agency manages which food product. All the information that they will need will be one easy place at www.foodsafety.gov."
"This site focuses on prevention by highlighting the steps both businesses and consumers can take to avoid illness," said Food and Drug (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. "It also will be a clearinghouse for information on the latest FDA rules and guidance."
"Health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rely on information from many places, including consumers, when it comes to tracking food-borne illnesses across the country and the world," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. "With this new website, consumers will quickly know who to contact if they believe they became ill from eating a certain food.
Those reports of illness can help us identify potential outbreaks sooner and strengthen our efforts to protect Americans from unsafe food and food-borne illness."