Feb 12, 2009

Federal Health Agencies Pulling Out All Stops on Peanut Butter Recall

Image of HHS homepage featuring many social media tools to get the almonella in peanut butter recall info out to the public.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been doing some absolutely terrific work on using all the arrows in their quivers--nonstop social media and cross agency collaboration--to get out information on the salmonella-in-peanut-butter recall.

From U.S. News online:
Federal health agencies have been experimenting with new Internet tools, dubbed Web 2.0, that make it easier to deliver information directly to the public. The "Health 2.0" movement got a big boost with the arrival of President Barack Obama, who is pushing federal agencies to use the tools to make the federal government more transparent and participatory.

When the source of the salmonella outbreak was identified in January, the FDA scampered to put a searchable database of recalled products on the Web. People have searched the database 19 million times in the past 10 days, Sanjay Koyani, the FDA's director of Web communications, told me yesterday. Outbreak updates are also available via blogs, widgets, and podcasts. The not-at-all-scary podcast aimed at kids explains that "icky bugs" could make them sick. You can even add a badge to your Facebook page saying: "I checked my cupboards for recalled products!"
Read more on U.S. News "On Parenting"
HHS has been doing a great job keeping the focus on the health emergency on their homepage--with ample links to resources in their sibling sites. This is the level of content integration that is critical to the public, and in too many instances has been waylaid because of turf battles. Folks in government appreciate how important--and how challenging--this is. Kudos to the FDA, CDC and HHS web, new media and communications teams.

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FDA Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak 2009. Flash Player 9 is required.

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