I just read an interesting article called “Scientists Urge Food Safety Professionals Not to Dismiss Social Media” by researchers from Ghent University in Belgium, University College Dublin in Ireland and a communications company in the UK. We have seen social media connect consumers and producers through all different types of industries, whether it be entertainment, electronics, food or any other consumer product. We now have government agencies and food safety professionals connecting with the public through social media to address concerns and convey important information.
It’s interesting that this article had just come up. As a food safety professional, I never thought much to engage with others about my work and had never really used Twitter before because I thought it was useless. I had an account, but never really used it and one day I decided to log on and saw that the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was about to do a live chat about people interested in pursuing public health as a career. So, I participated in the live chat and eventually started connecting with people all over the country interested in public health, food science, and food safety. It was really cool to connect with other people working in the field and to stay up-to-date on current events, such as recalls or food borne illness outbreaks.
The article goes on to say that “many opportunities are opening up for food risk communicators through a wide variety of social media applications and the digital environment”. The article also talks about how so much information is being passed along that the experts really need to get involved and ensure the information is accurate. “Having a social media presence, claim the researchers, is vital in order to rapidly address and correct developments containing inaccuracies and misinformation, thus ensuring an erroneous momentum does not build up” states the article. From what I have seen, many food safety organizations, government and private, have a presence in social media and I think it will continue to increase… even with people like me, who are just now starting to get it.
How do you, as food science students, consumers or food safety professionals use social media?
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