Food Safety Interactive Training
The IMRE department has begun work on an interesting new training program to help entrepreneurs who make food products.
Processing facilities and commercial incubator kitchens have allowed entrepreneurs to reach new markets for value-added products. These processors vary — they might make salsa, or beef jerky, or specialty baked goods. They usually know their products well, but they often need more experience and resources on food safety: such as materials for training employees and advice on how to evaluate risks in these facilities.
Our partners Nancy Flores (NMSU), Shannon Coleman (Iowa State University) and, Amanda Kinchla (University of Massachusetts) envisioned this project, which was funded by USDA-NIFA (National Institute of Food and Agriculture), as iTIPS – Interactive Tools to Improve the Practice of Food Safety. The multi-state project includes collaborators from Iowa, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.
The virtual experience
Users explore rooms in a food facility, interacting with workers to learn the best food safety practices. The interactive has four main rooms: the breakroom, the processing room, the warehouse, and the grounds. Once users finish the interactive experience, they are guided to an online platform with curated resources for training with certification.
The training modules have been designed through a research-based process. Collaborators explored content priorities together and considered options for interactive layouts during an initial design summit. The team identified audience needs using research data, articulated intended educational changes for users, and planned educational activities to foster this change.
Designed to be accessible and freely available online in English and Spanish, the module will enable more robust access to training tools for underserved communities with limited resources, to help improve food safety practices and regulatory compliance. Planned for initial release in Fall, 2023, the full bilingual version will be available in 2024.
Written by Matheus Cezarotto, PhD, visiting assistant professor, Department of Innovative Media, Research and Extension.
To learn more about our products and design process, contact:
Barbara Chamberlin, PhD
Interim Department Head
Extension Educational Media Specialist
Department of Innovative Media, Research and Extension