Food Safety Risk Factors and Educational Strategies – IFSN Seminar
Dr. Sandria Godwin, Tennessee State University and Dr. William Hallman, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey shared advances in “Identifying Food Safety Risk Factors and Educational Strategies for Consumers Purchasing Seafood and Meat Products Online.”
This seminar is part of the Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition (IFSN) Seminar Series. These monthly seminars aim to disseminate new knowledge; engage with partners and stakeholders; and inspire the next generation of food safety and nutrition experts. For full information on the series, visit the seminar webpage.
Online sales of meat, fish, poultry, and seafood products with direct delivery to consumers through FedEx and UPS are increasingly prevalent due to their convenience, the availability of a wide variety of specialty foods, and the popularity of sending gourmet foods as gifts. In a recent survey, 1 in 10 Americans reported having purchased or received these kinds of food items from an online vendor in the last year. Yet, the perishable nature of these products poses challenges to their safe shipment from producers to retail customers. They are not transported in refrigerated trucks and most often these products are delivered “signature release,” which means that the packages can be left outside an exterior door when the intended recipient is not home. Fundamentally, these packages are treated no differently from those containing non-perishable products such as books, clothing, or electronics.
In this presentation, we discuss the results of a USDA-funded study that examines potential food safety risk factors associated with the delivery of these products. We will describe the prevalence and accuracy of food safety information on the websites of 427 US-based online vendors of perishable meat, fish, poultry, and seafood products. We will also summarize the experiences of more than 1000 American consumers who have ordered and/or received products from these online vendors. Finally, we will talk about the results of an investigation wherein we ordered 684 samples of raw meat, game, poultry, and seafood from 160 online purveyors in the US. We will report on the shipping methods, packaging, refrigerants, product temperatures, and the presence and accuracy of food safety information associated with the delivery of these orders. We conclude that consumers are potentially at risk as the result of a combination of missing and misleading food safety information, and poor shipping practices that resulted in nearly half of the perishable meat, game, poultry, and seafood products arriving at unsafe temperatures.
*Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) or Nutrition and Dietetics Technicians, Registered (NDTRs) who view this recorded seminar and wish to receive the CEU certificate please e-mail Mallory M. Koenings.