FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2004
Phone: (734) 827-6818
Olson + Company
Phone: (612) 215-7272
Scrub Club™ Hits the Web to Educate Families on the Importance of Handwashing
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (September 20, 2004) - Seven "soaper-heroes" are ready to teach the nation's children the importance of good health and hygiene. NSF International is launching the Scrub Club™ - an animated, interactive website (www.scrubclub.org) that teaches children the proper way to wash their hands.
The Scrub Club site was announced during a special reception at the National Press Club last week in Washington, DC (more info). The site went live on September 19th, 2004 in conjunction with National Clean Hands Week and National Food Safety Education Month and will continue throughout the school year.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, more than 164 million school days are lost due to illness, but that number could be considerably reduced with proper handwashing," says William Fisher, vice president at NSF International, which is an independent, not-for-profit organization that certifies products and writes standards. "We created the Scrub Club to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing. By offering children, parents and teachers a fun and educational website, our goal is to reduce the number of sick days and ultimately improve the overall hygiene of children and adults."
The Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) has partnered with NSF International on this groundbreaking initiative. "Our mission is to educate consumers about the importance of safe food handling, and there is no doubt that thoroughly washing your hands before and after handling food is critical to reducing risk of foodborne illness," says Shelley Feist, PFSE executive director. The Partnership unites industry associations, consumer and public health groups and the USDA, CDC, FDA and EPA to educate all ages about safe food handling and preparation. "BAC, the Partnership's green bacteria mascot, is the perfect loveable villain for the Scrub Club," says Feist. "We believe that the Scrub Club will help us reach out to families in a fun and informative way to get everyone interested in following the safe food handling practices of the FightBAC!® education campaign."
"Soaper-Heroes" to the Rescue
The cornerstone of the website is a "Webisode" featuring the Scrub Club - a group of seven "soaper-hero" kids and their fearless leader "Ship Shape." Together they join forces to fight off harmful germs and bacteria, teaching children the proper way to wash their hands along the way.
Each of the Scrub Club kids represents one of the six steps in the handwashing process - "Hot Shot" and "Chill" combine to make the warm water essential for proper handwashing; "Squeaks" turns into various forms of soap; "Taki" becomes a clock that counts down the required 20 seconds for proper handwashing; "Scruff" reminds kids to clean around their nails; "Tank" turns into a sink to rinse away the germs and "P.T." transforms into paper towels.
The first "Webisode," "The Good, the BAC, and the Ugly," finds the Scrub Club battling the loathsome, but loveable character BAC (from PFSE's Fight BAC! food safety public education campaign), and one of his partners in "grime" Sal Monella in a wild-west themed adventure.
In addition to the "Webisode," the site features the "Scrub Club Theme Song" and "Handwashing Song" sung by Phil Solem, singer for The Rembrandts (known for the Friends' theme song "I'll Be There For You"). Interactive games, activities for kids to download, educational materials for teachers, program information for parents and tips and activities for the home not only enhance the educational value of the site but also make it fun for kids to return to the site time and time again.
About NSF International: NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization, helps protect you by certifying products and writing standards for food, water, air and consumer goods (www.nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. Additional services include safety audits for the food and water industries, management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., organic certification provided by Quality Assurance International and education through the NSF Center for Public Health Education.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education: The Partnership for Food Safety Education, a non-profit organization, unites industry associations, consumer and public health groups and the USDA, CDC, FDA and EPA to educate the public about safe food handling and preparation. The Partnership is the creator and steward of the Fight BAC!® campaign, a food safety education program developed using scientifically-based recommendations and resulting from an extensive consumer research process. Fight BAC!® materials are fully accessible online and utilized by consumers, teachers, dietitians, public health officials and extension agents across the United States www.fightbac.org. For information on the Partnership, call (202) 220-0651.
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Scrub Club™ and Scrub Club Characters are copyright 2004 NSF International. "BAC" Character copyright 2004 The Partnership for Food Safety Education.