To demonstrate how to use emerging social media outlets to educate the public about food-borne illnesses and prevention, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and NSF International are holding a joint conference next year.

Called “Advancements in Food Safety Education: Tools, Trends and Technologies,” the conference will focus on identifying communication and education strategies to increase the public’s knowledge of the causes of food-borne illnesses and improve consumer food safety practices, including control and defense against microbiological food safety risks.

The event is scheduled for March 23-26, 2010 in Atlanta.

Specifically, the show will demonstrate how communication technologies and social marketing techniques, including social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and webinars, can be used to reach consumers on food safety issues. Innovative food safety education programs also will be highlighted, according to Ann Arbor, Mich.-based NSF International.

Other key topics will include medical professional recruitment for food safety outreach purposes, the consumer education role of food service and food retail establishments, the evolving and expanding role of new technologies in consumer education, and behavioral and attitudinal research.

In addition to the USDA and NSF, sponsors include the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NSF/World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Food Safety.

Contact for more information.