If you’re careful about what you eat or feed your family, chances are pretty good you pay attention to food safety issues. The number of “tainted product” warnings in the last few years have seemingly been on the rise, with the most recent dangerous incident last summer’s listeria-contaminated cantaloupe incident that sickened a total of 176 people and resulted in 30 deaths.
As consumer concern rises, the The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection is looking for ways to provide alerts to consumers fast. The department recently launched Twitter (News – Alert) accounts for specific states that can share news of recalls on poultry, meat and other food products for those specific regions, Mashable is reporting today.
“These new Twitter feeds provide yet another mechanism for us to provide consumers with critical updates and relevant information they need to protect their families from foodborne illness,” USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen said in a statement. “The immediacy of information-sharing through social media is unparalleled, and we believe these timely, targeted updates will better protect public health.”
Twitter feeds for all U.S. states and territories will officially launch during the first week of March. Today, FSIS launched Twitter feeds providing food safety alerts for residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Going forward, every state will have its own Twitter alert handle using the state’s two-letter abbreviation followed by “_FSISAlert,” says the department.
Currently, recalls are announced through news releases and FSIS’ primary Twitter feed, @USDAFoodSafety, which contains information to help consumers identify the recalled product. To further enhance this notification process FSIS developed these state feeds to provide information to people directly affected by a recall.