The Retail Food Safety Consortium is an alliance of representatives from land-grant universities, national organizations, professional associations, and government agencies that have interest or active involvement in reducing foodborne illness in the U.S. The Consortium will focus specifically on improving food safety at the retail level through information sharing, networking, and strategic planning of activities.
The Consortium will be national in scope, and at the same time function to facilitate communication from the national level to the local level and vice versa. The main goals of the Consortium are to: 1) enhance collaborations between stakeholders in Retail Food Safety, 2) motivate positive retail food safety behaviors, 3) support the development of integrated retail food safety resources and 4) help stakeholders set priorities and allocate resources in retail food safety. With collaboration and cooperation the Consortium can help make the food supply safer at the retail level and to fill the gaps in the safety of the retail portion of the complete farm-to-fork food chain.
An IFT symposium in July 2004 pointed out that the retail food service industry is not fully aware of academic research and outreach capabilities. And academic professionals are not fully aware of the needs of the retail food service industry with respect to food safety. Furthermore there existed artificial boundaries between different organizations, such as sanitarians and academics, sanitarians and operators (industry), federal and local level regulators; and, consumers and industry. Symposium participants stressed the need for more collaboration between organizations involved in retail food service. There is currently no integrated, retail-focused, food safety consortium.
This project will:
Help unite many small efforts in academia, regulatory, and industry that lack inter-group collaboration.
Help collaborate across boundaries, such as between extension-academia and sanitarians, between industry and academia, and between public and private sectors.
Re-engage stakeholders that participated in the Food Safety Education and Training Alliance. FSTEA no longer functions.
Support a key USDA CSREES goal of integrating research, outreach and education.
Help bring consistency (uniform messages) and quality (science-based data) to retail food safety information.
Help shift educational efforts from materials creation to dissemination and evaluation.
The Principal Investigator and key collaborators have prepared the a Q&A to give readers a quick introduction to the Retail Food Safety Consortium (RFSC).