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Story in Brief

Youth and adults are susceptible to foodborne illness, especially when they choose to preserve food without using tested methods. The UGA Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Hall County developed and implemented programming to combat the unsafe handling of foods and unsafe canning methods to educate community members. She provided over 1,200 educational contact hours with youth or adult programs on food safety and food preservation, reaching at least 290 adults face-to-face before the national health emergency. Food safety topics focused on keeping foods out of the temperature danger zone, cooking foods properly, using a food thermometer, and how to pack foods for picnics, lunches, or tailgates safely. Participants engaged in a hands-on learning experience during these classes. Four ServSafe Food Protection Manager classes were taught, and tests proctored for school foodservice, restaurant employees and small business owners. The agent participated in a ServSafe update for instructors' training as well as a fall and spring food safety update. As a result of the public health emergency, programs were forced to be conducted virtually. The agent partnered with the Hall County Library system to deliver a program on safe food handling entitled “Food Safety Myth Busters,” delivered virtually via the library Facebook account. This account boasts a following of nearly 4,000 people and the program was archived for future viewing. The agent collaborated with the Agricultural and Natural Resources agent in the Hall County Extension office to provide a virtual 4-H lesson on growing blueberries and discussed the safe handling of harvested blueberries. This lesson was disseminated to 4-H youth statewide and viewed in other states. The agent also created a week-long social media series on food safety topics including a “Don’t Wing It!” series to highlight safe handling of poultry products. This series reached over 300 people and was shared across multiple platforms.