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Nutrition & Food Safety

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Nutrition and Food Safety Programs

Clemson University Extension Nutrition and Food Safety Programs help children, youth, and families improve their lives through partnerships that put experience and knowledge to work.

Why Nutrition and Food Safety Education?

Food Safety 
According to public health and food safety experts, 76 million illnesses in this country can be traced toFood Preparation foodborne bacteria each year. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration estimates that two to three percent of all foodborne illnesses lead to secondary long-term illnesses. Food Marketing Institute research shows that consumers know that food safety is important and know that they personally should observe sound food-handling practices. However, it also shows either that they do not fully comprehend some of the most important messages or they fail to use food safety measures. For example, 85% of consumers understand the importance of washing hands vigorously when handling food, but only 65% always do so. The need to constantly communicate food safety messages is underlined by continued changes in food safety recommendations for both consumers and the food service industry.

Travel and tourism and the related retail food service industry are South Carolina’s largest economic driver. Training retail managers and employees in safe food handling practices is key to maintaining a healthy tourism experience and to repeat visitors.

How safe are your food preparation practices? Find out by taking The Clean Kitchen Test.

The economic impact of obesity and associated chronic disease has been estimated to be approximately $1 billion in South Carolina alone and $100 billion nationwide. Obesity in children and adolescents has been associated with several chronic disease states including diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, and gall bladder disease. Several studies document that prevalence of type II diabetes is increasing among children and adolescents. Children who are overweight are at increased risk of becoming overweight or obese adults. Nationally, the prevalence of adult obesity increased 75% between 1991 and 2000 (from 22.9% to 30.5%). Adult obesity is an important risk factor for several chronic disease conditions. Approximately 14% of the South Carolina population is low income and is at higher risk for food insecurity obesity. The causes of obesity are complex and include genetics, lack of physical activity, and high-fat, energy-dense foods, which are readily accessible, inexpensive, heavily advertised, and palatable. Furthermore, individuals who are overweight may not eat more than normal-weight individuals, but instead may have a positive energy balance due to low-energy output.

A recent review of the dietary intake, food resource management practices, nutrition practices and food safety Bowl of fruitpractices of parents in South Carolina reveals that only 14% demonstrated acceptable food resource management practices; 9% demonstrated acceptable nutrition practices; 46% demonstrated acceptable food safety practices; 27.4% consume an adequate number of servings of breads and cereals; 20.8% consume an adequate number of servings of fruit; 20.8% consume an adequate number of servings of vegetables; 10.1% consume an adequate number of servings of dairy; and, 2.4% consume a food pattern with a 6-2-3-2-2 pattern of intake from the food groups. Only 12% of Americans eat a healthy diet consistent with federal nutrition recommendations. The typical American diet is too high in saturated fat, salt, and refined sugar and too low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, calcium, and fiber. Only 2% of school-aged children meet the Food Guide Pyramid serving recommendations for all 5 major food groups, and not more than 30% eat the recommended amount from any 1 of the 5 major food groups. There is a need to increase food safety through improved processing and packaging, screen vegetables for pesticides and develop new diagnostic procedures for animal pathogens.

Childhood overweight and obesity is a serious health issue, with the prevalence reaching epidemic proportions and more than doubling in the last three decades, with even higher rates among subpopulations of minority and economically disadvantaged children and adolescents.

Our Accomplishments

Through partnerships in our communities, we have been able to:

EFNEP Nutrition Educator Assistants (NEAs) conducted approximately 4,000 educational programs in nutrition and health each year. You can view the EFNEP impact report online.

A total of 916 food handlers participated in a 10-hour certification course in food handling and passed an exam to receive a certificate. Counties conducted 50 food safety education programs Farm to Processing, including Biotechnology, reaching 607 people. Of this number, 606 reported an increase in knowledge and 87 adopted a recommended practice.

Food Safety and Nutrition Educators conducted 383 educational programs for the general public in the area of food safety and nutrition, reaching 6,107 adults. Of the adults participating in the educational programs, 4,639 reported increased knowledge; 1,877 reported the intent to adopt practices; and 347 reported that they had adopted practices because of participation in the educational program.

Educators conducted 412 educational programs through the media. Media press kits (750) were distributed to media channels throughout the state. Print media was one outlet, with 13,767 column inches of information on food safety and nutrition appearing in newspapers and other publications. In addition, educators provided 804 minutes of radio airtime and 1,009 minutes of television airtime in the area of food safety and nutrition.

Counties conducted 112 food handling educational programs reaching 1,333 people. Of this number, 1,295 reported an increase in knowledge, 925 planned to adopt practices, and 50 reported adopting a &recommended practice. There were 25 new or value-added food products or packages entering the market as a result of the program.

Our Nutrition and Food Safety Education Programs continually seek ways improve the health and well-being of the people of South Carolina.

Nutrition & Food Safety Resources

American Diabetes Association
American Dietetic Association
American Heart Association - Nutrition Center
Clean Up Your Act in the Kitchen
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition - Clemson University
Dole 5 A Day - fun activities to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables
EFNEP - Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program
Fight BAC! - Keep Food Safe from Bacteria
Food and Health Communications - provides information on nutrition and healthy lifestyles
Food Labeling and Nutrition - address FDA's labeling requirements for food
Food and Nutrition Information Center - provides credible, accurate, and practical nutrition resources
FoodSafety.gov - your gateway to federal food safety information
Food Safety and Preservation Documents - from the Clemson University Home & Garden Information Center
Food Safety Information Center - at the National Agricultural Library
Instructional Materials in Nutrition - provides useful Internet educational resources
Lucy’s Tasty Treasures - a fun way to learn about nutrition
ChooseMyPlate.gov - access point for the U.S.D.A. food guidance system
New Jersey (Rutgers) Agricultural Extension Continuing Professional Education
NIRC - Nutrition Information & Resource Center
Nutrition.gov - provides easy access to the best food and nutrition information
Ohioline, Food - nutrition, food safety, & health fact sheets provided by The Ohio State University
Recipe Guidelines for Extension programs
ServSafe Program - the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s food safety training program
“So Easy to Preserve” Video Series / Book - offered through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
StillTasty - your ultimate shelf life guide

For more information on nutrition and food safety, contact Katherine Cason.

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