FS-5.2 Increase the proportion of consumers who follow the key food safety practice of “Separate: don’t cross-contaminate.”

National Data Source
Food Safety Survey; Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Changed Since the Healthy People 2020 Launch
Baseline (Year)
88.6 (2006)
Target-Setting Method
Projection/trend analysis
The percent of consumers aged 18 years and older who report they follow the key food safety practice: Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate
Number of practices measured among persons aged 18 years and older who prepare food (consumers)
Questions Used to Obtain the National Baseline Data

From the 2006 Food Safety Survey:


After you have used a cutting board or other surface for cutting raw meat or chicken, do you use it as it is for cutting other food to be eaten raw for the same meal, or do you first rinse it, or wipe it, or wash it with soap?

  1. Use it as it is
  2. Rinse or wipe it
  3. Wash with soap*
  4. Wash with bleach*
  5. Use a different cutting board*
  6. Don't cut raw meat or poultry*

After cutting raw fish or shellfish, what do you do with the cutting board or surface? [Do you use it as it is for cutting food to be eaten raw for the same meal, or do you first rinse it, or wipe it, or wash it with soap?] (NOTE: MATERIAL IN BRACKETS MAY NOT NEED TO BE READ).

  1. Use it as it is
  2. Rinse or wipe it
  3. Wash with soap*
  4. Wash with bleach*
  5. Use a different cutting board*


Data Collection Frequency
Comparable Healthy People 2010 Objective
Not applicable


Methodology Notes

The Food Safety Survey is nationally-representative telephone survey of consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs about food safety. The survey results are used to measure trends in consumer food safety habits, to better understand consumer attitudes about novel technologies, and to evaluate educational messages directed at consumers. Specific topics may be added to individual surveys. For example the 2009 survey included questions about how recent food recalls affected consumer confidence in the food supply and what effect, if any, recent recalls had on consumers' home food safety behaviors. This information will be used to develop strategies to communicate food recall information to the public more effectively.

The Survey, sponsored by the FDA and the Department of Agriculture, was first fielded in 1988 and has been conducted every 3 to 5 years since then. It is a single-stage random-digit-dialing survey tracking a nationally representative sample of about 4,000 English or Spanish speaking non-institutionalized adults (aged 18 years and older) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Households were selected from a nationally representative single-stage sample of telephone numbers generated from the GENESYS system. The eligible respondent in a household was selected using the most-recent birthday method Results were weighted to adjust for number of land phone lines in a household, number of adults in a household, and Census distributions of gender, race/ethnicity, age, and education in the 50 states and District of Columbia.


The 2006 survey was conducted by a contractor during January 12 - June 20, 2006. Two versions of the questionnaire were sequentially administered to the sample. Version 1 had 2,275 respondents and Version 2 had 2,264 respondents. The questionnaire has Core questions and survey year specific questions. Core questions remain largely unchanged from year to year and allow for trends analysis. The core questions include: consumer food handling behaviors, consumption of potentially risky foods, and general food safety risk perceptions. Survey year specific questions include: awareness and knowledge of mercury in fish, food recall behaviors and attitudes, and perceptions of food technologies such as biotechnology..

The key food safety practices are the four Fight BAC!TM Campaign messages: 1) clean: wash hands and surfaces often; 2) separate: don't cross- contaminate; 3) cook: cook to proper temperatures; and 4) chill: refrigerate promptly.

References and More Information

  1. Food Safety Survey
  2. Food Safety Survey (OMB Control Number 0910-0345-Reinstatement). Federal Register; 74:177. September 15, 2009. pp 47256-47257.