(Oct. 26) When consumers know how to correctly handle fresh fruits and vegetables, they will do the safe thing.

That was one of the linchpins of research that drove development of a new national food safety education campaign unveiled Oct. 18 at Fresh Summit 2004.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education, bolstered by a $100,000 commitment from the Produce Marketing Association earlier this year, has strengthened and clarified the partnership’s Fight Bac! campaign.

Shelley Feist, executive director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, Washington, D.C., previewed some of the principles of the campaign at a press event Oct. 18.

Consumer-tested messages will be distributed through the media, the group’s national network of public and private partners, safety advocates and a consumer-oriented Web site, www.fightbac.org.

Feist said the new campaign adds two elements to the existing produce-specific handling messages of “clean, separate, cook and chill.”

The new campaign adds “check” for bruising, damage and refrigeration for fresh-cut, and “throw away” produce that may be unsafe.

She also notes the campaign will give consumers more specific messages about how to clean produce, such as using a brush on hard-skinned fruits and vegetables.

The Food and Drug Administration, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency, is part of the Partnership for Food Safety Education.