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USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone to Bring Food Safety to the USA Science Festival

A Revamped Education Campaign from the Food Safety Inspection Service

Come see the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone on October 23-24 at the Inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival. The Zone program incorporates the Be Food Safe campaign with a 40 foot interactive vehicle where consumers can enter and learn about food safety in fun and engaging way. It will be located on the National Mall near the corner of Pennsylvania and 12th Street in Washington, DC.

The Food Safety Discovery Zone; Children love it and can’t wait to step inside to see what the giant yellow truck is all about, while adults appreciate the educational value of such a program. Many people can be heard saying “I never knew that!” while listening to the Public Health Service Officers educate consumers who tour the truck. The Discovery Zone has traveled around the US to state and county fairs, community centers, farmers markets and schools around the country since May 2010. Our goal is to provide visitors of all ages with interactive and fun experiences that teach them how to Fight BAC, the bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.

Launching the Discovery Zone on the National Mall in May at Public Service Recognition Week was the start of it all and since we have visited 48 Events in 14 states and reached over 400,000 people. Children and their families are attracted to the vehicle and curious about the life-size characters outside, such as Thermy™ and BAC®, the Food Safety Game where you spin the wheel and win prizes and the Food Safety bags which hold all sorts of information like the Kitchen companion for Adults and the Be Food Safe activity book for children. When you enter the Discovery Zone, you find a brightly colored, fun-house kitchen with several learning stations, educating on important issues like using a thermometer to cook food, cross-contamination, and the “Danger Zone”. The kids and parents alike love the “Germs That Glow in the Dark” station, where they learned about the importance of hand washing by using ultraviolet lights and a special powder to simulate germs.

While the primary mission of the Discovery Zone is education, it can also deploy it in the event of a natural disaster to support local food safety education efforts. When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, an earlier version of the Food Safety Mobile demonstrated how to sanitize kitchen items and provided critical food safety supplies.

So come support food safety and maybe learn a few new things from the Discovery Zone’s Public Health Service Officers this weekend. We look forward to seeing you there!

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