Since the coronavirus pandemic kicked food delivery use into overdrive, the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) has launched a new national campaign to help food delivery users ensure the safety of the foods they order. Prep Yourself: Food Is on the Way, the first national food safety campaign specifically targeting users of food delivery services, provides free resources that encourage safe food handling at home and educate consumers on what to consider when ordering from food delivery services.
According to an April 2020 survey conducted by Statista, more than one-third of both suburban and urban respondents said that they used online food delivery services or restaurant apps to order food. A recent Piplsay survey found that almost half of Americans have tried a meal kit service at least once this past year. Additionally, according to a 2021 Food and Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council, 72% of Americans said that the pandemic is changing the way they eat and prepare food. This study also showed that 42% of consumers are shopping for groceries online at least monthly.
"Where consumers get their food has changed, from around the corner to around the world. With foods now delivered to their homes by a variety of delivery models, empowering consumers with the knowledge they need to keep their families safe is key to the prevention of foodborne illnesses, and a central tenet of FDA's New Era of Smarter Food Safety," said Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "We are grateful for the good work done by the Partnership for Food Safety Education to provide consumers with food safety educational messages during these changing times."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year an estimated one in six Americans, or 48 million people, get sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; and 3,000 die from eating contaminated food.
The Prep Yourself: Food Is on the Way campaign is supported by Instacart, the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO), and Sysco. The initiative includes digital advertising, social media, and print collateral that can be integrated into a food delivery service provider’s communications to ensure its online customers stay safe. PFSE will use the campaign resources throughout the month of September, which is National Food Safety Education Month, and beyond.
Based in Arlington, Va., the nonprofit PFSE provides science-based food safety messages and is considered the national leader in developing and disseminating information regarding the linkage of food safety consumer education with positive health outcomes. Food safety and health educators, and consumers, can download free food safety education information from the PFSE website.