Our team often collaborates with researchers and Extension specialists in other states to produce multimedia to reach a specific audience. The Infotoons project was a great opportunity to work with food safety experts at the University of Maine and to focus on regional foods important to Maine heritage, such as wild blueberries and seaweed. Local food producers in Maine often sell their products directly to consumers, and it’s important they have access to information about food safety. This project was intended to help foster a food safety culture among Maine producers and processors. The videos cover key concepts based in science but informal, accessible, and applied, conveying “the why behind the what.”
These eight Infotoons animated videos are freely available on YouTube or at the University of Maine website.
Understanding the difference between validation vs verification in food production and food safety (Machado, 2021).
Understanding the difference between cross-contact vs cross-contamination of different foods, and how each can make people sick (Machado, 2021).
Microbiology and sanitation practices keep getting better, but the microorganisms evolve as well, and part of that bacterial evolution counteracts attempts to destroy them (Machado, 2021).
Understanding how irrigation water can be a vector for produce contamination (Machado, 2021).
Understanding how quickly bacteria can grow on foods when they are time- and temperature-abused is essential for anyone working with food safety (Machado, 2021).
Cross-contamination is one of the most common ways that food gets contaminated, and it poses a significant threat to the safety of our food (Machado, 2021).
Microorganisms cause foodborne diseases by infection or intoxication. Knowing the difference can help food safety personnel to address issues adequately when they arise (Machado, 2021).
Completely eradicating bacteria from a food processing facility is impossible, and biofilms play an essential role in making that even harder. Learning how to avoid and remove biofilms will make a food plant safer (Machado, 2021).
This project was funded by USDA-NIFA under the formal name, “Infotoons and Videos as Delivery Tools for Food Safety Training.” It sought to enhance understanding of the scientific principles underpinning the applied condition of food safety in populations of growers, producers, processors and their employees, and to emphasize its relevance to stakeholders. The animations incorporated traditional Maine agricultural products such as blueberry and seaweed. The animations have been distributed on YouTube, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension website and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The animation suite was developed in collaboration with the University of Maine’s Dr. Robson Machado through a USDA-NIFA Food Safety Outreach Program grant (2018-70020-28860).
Machado, R. (2021). Infotoons and Videos as Delivery Tools for Food Safety Training. Cooperative Extension: Food & Health. Retrieved September 13, 2021, from https://extension.umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/videos/.
Written By:Pamela Martinez Ed.D., Assistant Professor & Extension Learning Technology Specialist, and Amy Smith Muise, Program Manager