Food Innovation Center

Collaborating for a healthier, hunger-free world.

Center member helps create food safety website

Lydia MedeirosLydia Medeiros, a charter member of the Food Innovation Center, was integral in the creation of a new Ohio State University food safety site.

The website, http://foodsafety.osu.edu, offers consumers, health professionals and people who are at high risk of food-borne illness easy-to-understand, "plain talk" information that they can incorporate easily in their day-to-day life, said Lydia Medeiros, food safety specialist with Ohio State University Extension and one of the leaders in developing the site.

"We focused on information that helps people build skills," said Medeiros, who is also a scientist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and professor of human nutrition in the College of Education and Human Ecology. "Knowledge is good, but having the proper skills is the necessary factor that people need to implement their knowledge."

The site contains numerous photos to illustrate food safety concepts for consumers in the "Ask Mom" area of the site, Medeiros said, including how to properly wash hands, test meat with a food thermometer, and prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen. The area for health professionals, "Ask the Doc," provides food safety fact sheets that can be downloaded and shared with patients or clients who have been diagnosed with cancer or HIV/AIDS, who have had an organ transplant, who are pregnant or who have chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to food-borne disease. In the "Ask the Teacher" portion of the site, educators have access to a PowerPoint presentation they can download to teach food safety concepts.

More materials will be added to the site, Medeiros said. "This is a dynamic website that will get deeper and broader as we add information to it," she said.

In addition, the site offers users a way to ask Ohio State's food safety professionals questions they can't find answers to, by e-mailing foodsafety@osu.edu or calling Ohio State's Food Safety Information Line, housed at the university's Food Industry Center, at 800-752-2751 (toll-free in Ohio), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The website and food safety e-mail and phone line are made possible by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Integrated Food Safety Initiative; The Kroger Co., which also supports a broader food safety outreach program through its in-store educational campaign; and the Center for Innovative Food Technology, which helps support the Food Safety Information Line.

Story by Martha Filipic, College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences
Posted December 29, 2010