USDA provides users with new information on food safety recalls with the update on its FoodKeeper app

WASHINGTON, 2017-Aug-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today (August 29, 2017) announced new updates to its popular FoodKeeper application that will provide users with new information on food safety recalls. The app has been updated so users can choose to receive automatic notifications when food safety recalls are announced by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In the update posted to the Google Play and iTunes stores, users can select to receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly. The update also adds instructional videos on proper handling and storage of food, and expands the list of food and beverage products from about 400 to more than 500 items.

“This is a great way for the public to stay informed when food is recalled,” said Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg. “The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy to use tool; and it reflects USDA’s commitment to provide the public with information and knowledge to help them make informed decisions.”

The FoodKeeper app was developed by FSIS in partnership with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute, as a tool to help reduce food waste and improve public health by sharing storage methods that extend the shelf life of the foods and beverages in American homes. It now offers specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, for more than 500 products, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood and more. Since it was launched in April 2015, it has been downloaded nearly 150,000 times.

“These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS’ commitment to reducing the rates of foodborne illness nationally,” said Rottenberg. “We want to make sure the valuable recall information FSIS and FDA publish is available to as many Americans as possible. With the expansion of products covered in the apps database, this app is helpful to any type of consumer, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so, to download and begin using the FoodKeeper app.”

With the FoodKeeper application, each user can:

  • Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
  • Learn cooking tips and methods for various types of meat, poultry and seafood products;
  • Note in their device’s calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
  • Submit a question to USDA using the ‘Ask Karen’ feature of the application. ‘Ask Karen’ is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products;
  • Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates;
  • Receive information on food safety recalls immediately when they’re announced or select to receive them daily or weekly.

For those that do not have access to a smartphone, the FoodKeeper app can also be accessed at FoodSafety.gov/FoodKeeper.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS’ website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Contact:

FSIS Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education
Press (202) 720-9113
Consumer Inquiries (888) 674-6854

Source: USDA

USDA updates its FoodKeeper App to include food storage information in Spanish and Portuguese

WASHINGTON, 2016-Jul-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that its popular FoodKeeper application has been updated to include food storage information in both Spanish and Portuguese. Now Spanish and Portuguese speakers can use the app to better understand storage recommendations for 400+ items covered by the tool, including various types of baby food, dairy products and eggs, meat, poultry, produce, seafood, and more.

In the update posted to the Google Play and iTunes stores, users will find a new setting menu offering language options and the ability to display temperatures, weights and measures in Imperial or Metric units. In addition, improvements were also made to how the app syncs with the calendar of smartphones and tablets to reminder users to use food before it may spoil.

“The FoodKeeper app is a very handy and easy tool to use and it reflects USDA’s commitment to provide consumers with information and knowledge so they can make informed decisions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This app empowers people to help meet our nation’s food waste reduction goals, and it also links to our virtual food safety resources that answer common questions about how to safely handle, prepare and store foods.”

By helping users better understand food storage, the application empowers the public to choose storage methods that extend the shelf life of the food and beverages in their home. Better food storage should reduce food waste and reduce the frequency of users preparing and eating products that may be spoiled.

The FoodKeeper app was developed by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service in partnership with Cornell University and the Food Marketing Institute. Since it was launched in April 2015, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Additional updates are planned for September, which will include information on product recalls and educational videos.

“These updates to the FoodKeeper are just one more example of FSIS’ commitment to serving diverse communities,” said Deputy Under Secretary of Food Safety Al Almanza. “We want to make sure the valuable information the application offers is available to as many Americans as possible, which is why we are now offering it in additional languages.”

With the FoodKeeper application, each user can:

  • Find specific storage timelines for the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, depending on the nature of the product;
  • Get cooking tips for cooking methods of meat, poultry and seafood products;
  • Note in their device’s calendar when products were purchased and receive notifications when they are nearing the end of their recommended storage date;
  • Submit a question to USDA using the ‘Ask Karen’ feature of the application. ‘Ask Karen’ is USDA’s 24/7 virtual representative. The system provides information about preventing foodborne illness, safe food handling and storage, and safe preparation of meat, poultry, and egg products; and
  • Submit items not included in the database for consideration in future updates.

For those that do not have access to a smartphone, the FoodKeeper can also be access at FoodSafety.gov/FoodKeeper.

Throughout the month of July, at the height of summer grilling season, USDA is recognizing improvements made to the U.S. food safety system during the Obama Administration, which are some of the most significant updates made since the 1950s. USDA estimates new food safety standards implemented for meat and poultry will reduce illnesses by about 75,000 annually. USDA has tightened standards for the companies who process and prepare thousands of food products, upgraded technology and internal systems to track and report safety issues to regulators and the public in real time, and knitted together the federal agencies overseeing America’s food safety system to ensure standards are tough on behalf of the consumer, vigilant against emerging risks, consistent and coordinated. New consumer-facing tools, like the FoodKeeper app, allow Americans to further guard themselves and their family against foodborne illnesses. More information about these efforts can be found on USDA’s Medium page at  http://bit.ly/results-ch7.

Contact:

Food Safety Education Staff
Kristina Beaugh (202) 260-8572
Consumer Inquiries (888) 674-6854

Source: USDA