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Accela honors Maricopa County, Arizona, for food safety innovation and similar communities invested in environmental heath

Phoenix skyline at night

The Phoenix skyline in Maricopa County, Arizona. (Jason Corneveaux / Flickr)

Editor’s Note: As part of Accela’s commitment to environmental health, and the technologies that support it, Accela’s  General Manager of Environmental Health Division Darryl Booth spotlights the annual Samuel J. Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection and celebrates Maricopa County, Arizona, for winning it a second time in 2018.

A Camp Cook

I spent the Memorial Day Weekend camping with my two sons. The Sierra Nevada Mountains near my home were perfectly appointed for awe-inspiring hikes and delicious camp-food.

As we arranged our campsite and prepared our meals, I noticed the mindfulness with which I prepared our food. I insisted on proper hand-washing before and after handling food, kept separate equipment for meat and veggies, and of course, grilled our chicken to a safe temperature. These are practices I and most people undertake to prevent illness.

In our communities, we’ve come to expect great care and attention given those activities that could impact our health. And so, this is also a bit of a love letter to those professionals who educate and regulate so that our families may remain safe and healthy.

A Fly Bat

Public health practices were not always so thorough. In fact, public health pioneers often had to embark upon creative campaigns to reduce or eliminate health risks such as spitting on sidewalks, public drinking cups, and the single shared towel at public wash basins. Dr. Samuel Crumbine (1862-1954) personally launched these and other public health campaigns during his notable career as a physician and public health advocate, thus forming many of the practices we take for granted today and establishing the underpinnings of modern public health.

Interestingly, Dr. Crumbine also invented the Fly Bat, known today as the fly swatter, and promised two silver dollars each week to the boys and girls having “swatted” the most flies.

Food Safety

The Samuel J. Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection, therefore, is a fitting honor for our modern-day pioneers. The prestigious award is granted annually to local health departments in recognition of programs and methods that reduce or eliminate the occurrence of foodborne illness and stimulate public interest in food safety.

Note that the USDA estimates that foodborne illnesses cost more than $15.6 billion annually in medical costs, investigation, remediation, and lost income. In the US, we suffer over 2,500 deaths each year traceable to known foodborne pathogens. So, when a foodborne illness is prevented or contained, lives are saved.

Recognizing Maricopa County Environmental Services Department

This month the Environmental Services Department, in Maricopa County, Arizona, was awarded the Samuel J. Crumbine Award for Excellence in Food Protection for the second time. As part of Accela’s commitment to public health and technologies that advance it, we thank and congratulate Maricopa County, for its ongoing passion and mission: To protect the public’s health.

More details on the technologies that drive innovation in environmental health can be found in Accela’s Environmental Health Solution, a set of digital tools that help localities to manage a range of services from food safety, to drinking water, to air quality.


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