This chapter aims to capture all those involved in food safety, including government agencies, professional organizations, trade associations, consumer organizations, academic-industry partnerships, academic-government partnerships, research institutes, and some that defy categorization. The format of the chapter is as follows: Organizations
Cooperative Extension Offices
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Public Affairs Specialists
State Departments of Health and/or Agriculture
State Meat Inspection Programs
Organizations are listed alphabetically, as it would be difficult to break them down in terms of subject area since so many of them cover a wide range of food safety issues. Cooperative Extension Agents are part of the state land-grant university in each state, with a program leader at the university and agents in the counties. They are a local source for food safety information and materials, and in many cases can teach food safety principles to groups. Some university extension offices are equipped to help the small food processor, especially those that are home-based, to prepare their products safely. FDA public affairs specialists can help consumers locate food safety information on foods that come under FDA jurisdiction.
With the advent of and the increasing access to the Internet, hotlines have declined as a method of information distribution. Compared to a Web site, they are expensive to maintain and can serve only a limited number of individuals. Some organizations are still able to maintain hotlines. For general food safety information, the FDA Food Information Line and the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline are the best sources. For food safety information on products from food companies, call that company’s product hotline. For companies not listed here, look on the food packaging. Most food companies now print their telephone number on their food products.
State health and/or agriculture departments also offer food safety training, or have lists of local trainers. These agencies are responsible for the safety of foods in restaurants, grocery