The kids of eastern Kentucky have been getting a mega dose of food safety awareness this month. The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone, a 40-foot long interactive exhibit on wheels, has been traveling throughout Rowan and Fayette Counties, teaching kids from seven schools how to keep them safe from foodborne illness. Additionally, the Food Safety Discovery Zone stopped at the Midway Fall Festival in Midway, Kentucky for an extra opportunity to blend education with fun while increasing food safety awareness.
On September 13 and 14, the Discovery Zone visited Rowan County’s Tilden Hogge, Rodburn, and Clearfield Elementary Schools. The third through fifth graders were eager and very excited as they approached the 40-foot truck, the food safety game, and most of all, and 8-foot tall BAC!® villain and the hero, Thermy™. The following week, the Discover Zone visited approximately 1,200 students from Fayette County’s Southern, Northern, Ashland, and Landsdowne Elementary Schools.
The children were educated on the four steps—Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill—and repeated comments like “this is Awesome!” and “I can’t believe that the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone came all the way to our school from Washington, DC!”
Raven Ford, Rowan County’s Extension Agent who helped tremendously with coordinating the Discovery Zone’s visit, said, “The cooking thermometers are going to be sold out as soon as school lets out and these kids get home.”
“The kids loved it, and they are the most captivated and engaged audience of any target audience we could ever push these messages to,” said LTJG Cody Thornton. The teachers learned just as much as the kids, with many saying “I never knew that!” multiple times during the tour.