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FDA “Oral Culture Learner� Materials for Retail Food Employees Available

Constituent Update

December 7, 2010

Posters on in eight languages

To help improve food safety practices in grocery stores, restaurants and other food service operations, such as schools, nursing homes and hospitals, the Food and Drug Administration is providing basic training materials for front line food employees in languages they are most comfortable with. These materials for “oral culture learners” are part of FDA’s efforts to work closely with state and local governments and operators of retail food establishments to prevent illness from contaminated food.

The materials, in the form of seven downloadable posters on key safe food handling issues, are available in English, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese at:

Directed at improving how industry and regulatory food safety professionals communicate with front line food employees on the importance of food safety, the posters use a minimum of text, relying on photographs or drawings to show food workers in real-life situations, and make their points forcefully. The storyboard-style posters, designed to print on standard 8.5 x 11paper, cover three critical basic principles in safe food handling:

  • Using gloves or utensils to handle ready-to-eat foods
  • Not working when ill
  • Proper hand washing

FDA has worked closely with its regulatory, industry and academic partners to develop and field test these materials. Additional materials are under development to address other important food safety practices such as proper temperature control and minimizing cross-contamination. These materials will be posted on FDA's website as they become available.

Several regulatory agencies are already using the oral culture posters to help food employees understand the importance of following safe food preparation practices including, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; Oregon Department of Human Services; Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation; and Santa Clara County (CA) Department of Environmental Health.

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