Consumersafety.org is a new website launched out of Syracuse, New York with the purpose of educating and informing the public on issues that affect consumers in the United States, whether they are buying cars, clothes, furniture, or, relevant here, food. Food safety recalls are scattered all over the place, often hidden deep in government databases and rarely announced on a large scale.
Consumer Safety monitors dozens of sources on a daily basis including non-profit organizations, blogs and government websites like the Food & Drug Administration. This content aggregation paired with a quality team of writers creating unique content makes Consumer Safety a solid resource for anyone looking to stay up to date on food recalls, especially restauranteurs sourcing ingredients for they business. Their team of contributing writers includes former Consumer Product Safety Commission Inspector Douglas Pinheiro and Erin Olivera, a scientist working in food safety and regulation. The content is meant for readers of any age, with easily digestible and straight forward announcements and safety guides written for the general public.
Filling a Need in Food Safety
Consumer Safety’s Media director, Jonas Sickler, has found that “A lot of local news organizations do a much better job than big media corporations” with regards to food recalls, however it is not enough according to Content Director Emma Hueber. “It is not that media and news companies don’t care, but you are not likely to hear about the half dozen spice companies that have recalled a few thousand bottles of turmeric.” A small number of affected consumers means bigger media companies may not devote time and energy to reporting on recalls, which is where Consumer Safety picks up the slack. The average person does not have access to food recall information if it is not reported on the news and they do not have time to research themselves. This includes restaurant owners who may be buying in bulk without any idea that an item has been recalled. There are Food FAQs for restaurant owners or chefs who may just be starting out, including information about hygiene, refrigeration, and cooking meat to correct temperatures. The site provides information for any level of cook or industry worker, including the home cook.
Consumer Safety sees their biggest challenge as going through the massive quantity of data surrounding product recalls, especially with food safety. “We don’t have it all figured out yet, but our site will continue to improve. We have ambitious goals and we want everyone to know about them and to take advantage of the resources we have on the site” says Hueber. In addition, creating more in-depth content is a challenge Consumer Safety is working on, as they believe more and more consumers will want information beyond just what the recall or public statement from the company says. That can be difficult as many recalls are done voluntarily by the company, meaning they can provide as much or as little information as they want.
However with Consumer Safety’s team of writers and researchers, they are weeding out recalls and making sure that consumers have access to them. Whether it is a July recall of Betty Crocker cake mix or the May recall of General Mills Golden Flower, they have you covered. Just because a recall does not make the news does not mean it could not potentially adversely affect your business. “There is no reason why you should have to go to three, four, or five different sites just to get information” says Hueber. With Consumersafety.org, one click provides you with all the food safety information that will ensure your food service operation is not at risk.