Mobile App Helps USDA Educate Consumers on Proper Food Handling and Storage
It is critical that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and its partners have reliable resources available to ensure the nation’s commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome and correctly labeled and packaged. That’s why FSIS selected DMI, Bethesda, Md., to leverage mobility through the development of a FoodKeeper mobile app. Available for Android and Apple devices, the FoodKeeper app was designed to better educate the public on proper food storage and handling.
Raising awareness on food safety and preparation. The Food Safety Education Staff (FSES), within the Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education (OPACE) of FSIS, provides educational content through various channels designed to positively influence consumer food handling behavior. Through FSES’s partnership with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Cornell University’s Department of Food Science, FSIS provided advice in the development and maintenance of the database that powers the application.
Leveraging mobility to educate the public. FSIS has embraced mobility as a means for delivering educational content to consumers to inform them on best practices for keeping in-home food safe. Some of the goals of the project include:
- Prevention of foodborne illness by strengthening public health awareness.
- Increased outreach to underserved populations that use mobile devices for access to the Internet.
- Consolidation of data from various platforms and databases into a single integrated solution.
- Enables scalability and future growth for further product enhancements.
Enhancing the consumer experience. FSIS turned to DMI to develop an intuitive and user-friendly mobile app that allows consumers to determine if the food in their home freezer, refrigerator and pantry are safe to eat in just a few simple taps/swipes. Additionally, the app contains valuable storage and cooking advice to help consumers maintain the freshness and quality of foods.
“We recognize the fact that today’s consumer is mobile,” says Chris Bernstein, team lead for food safety education at FSIS/USDA. “The FoodKeeper app was envisioned as a tool that not only educates, but also aggregates content from a variety of resources to provide easy access to this important information. This app not only enhances and encourages important best practices in food storage, it also delivers consistent, current information to a broader audience.”
“Organizations these days understand that in order to reach today’s consumer, it is imperative to have a long-term mobility roadmap,” says Jay Sunny Bajaj, DMI founder and CEO. “More importantly, agencies need to stay ahead of public demands while keeping pace with the emerging technologies on the market today. We are proud to be able to assist the USDA and its affiliates in their endeavor to communicate this critical information to the consumer.”