In the early 20th century, Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, not only shed light on the exploitation of American factory workers, but it also led to a public outcry for government oversight of food inspection and certification. Today, the food safety debate rages on, as headlines highlight the latest food safety crisis – from peanut butter and spinach, to pistachios and tomatoes.
Extension family and consumer sciences agents learn about proper techniques for home canning of fruits and vegetables. With the increased interest in home food preservation, Extension has implemented new programs to teach homeowners how to safely preserve foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million people in the United States become sick with foodborne illnesses annually. Of those, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die.
Each incident is a stark reminder of the importance of implementing proper food safety practices throughout the food production chain – from grower, to manufacturer, to cook and consumer.
Since its formation in the early 1900s, Virginia Cooperative Extension has taken an active role in educating the public about food safety. Predecessors of today’s Extension agents demonstrated the latest canning and food preservation techniques to homemakers in their communities. Back then, homemakers wanted to learn the best ways to use home-produced food to feed their families safe and nutritious meals, and today it is no different. Read the full story in Solutions.