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A new three-way alliance among The Kroger Co.’s Columbus Division, the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and The Ohio State University has resulted in the creation of a new Food Safety Hotline that aims to improve and enhance food safety awareness among Ohio consumers.
“The hotline is a great opportunity for consumers to quickly gain the information they seek about food safety,” said Bruce Macaulay, president of the Columbus Division. “We feel it important to emphasize how to safely handle and prepare food -- and especially fresh meat -- during the summer grilling and picnicking season when consumers may prepare and serve foods outdoors.”
Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., consumers can dial the Food Safety Hotline for answers to questions about the full scope of safe food-handling practices. After hours, consumers can leave a message and phone number to get a response.
The food safety hotline, sponsored since 1985 by Ohio State’s Food Industries Center, has had limited capacity to respond quickly to consumer questions. However, thanks to new funding from Kroger as part of its Food Safety Awareness campaign, the hotline will be staffed daily by trained OSU students with support from experts in the university’s Food Science & Technology and Human Nutrition departments.
“We’ve had callers wondering about recalled products -- cookie dough and pistachios -- and I expect more calls on a wide variety of topics as word gets around about the hotline,” said Stephanie Smith, CIFT food scientist and hotline coordinator. “I think this kind of service is especially important for people who don’t have easy access to the Internet; they can just place a call and talk with a real person about their food safety concerns.”