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Nearly 300 Washington Area Residents Learn Food Safety from the Pros

(from L to R) Kimberly Mejia and Germany Ray, both Oxon Hills Elementary School students, Felicia Thompson and Nita Ray stop by the FSIS food safety exhibit to obtain food safety information, educational materials and promotional items during the Oxon Hills Health Extravaganza on March 23, 2011.

(from L to R) Kimberly Mejia and Germany Ray, both Oxon Hills Elementary School students, Felicia Thompson and Nita Ray stop by the FSIS food safety exhibit to obtain food safety information, educational materials and promotional items during the Oxon Hills Health Extravaganza on March 23, 2011.

Oxon Hill Elementary School’s motto for its annual health extravaganza is, “Spring forward with good health.” The motto was put into practice last week at the Maryland school’s health fair, where community organizations, activities and food samples came together to contribute to good health and well-being.

Some of the activities included blood pressure checks, health and dental screenings, finger printing for kids, line dancing, and fire safety techniques. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s exhibit was also a popular stop for guests.

Carol Smith, the school’s nurse, said, “Everyone enjoyed themselves. The children came in the next morning saying they learned so much and had a good time. … The food safety station was booming. They learned a lot from your display.”

Approximately 300 children, adults and teachers received food safety educational publications and keepsakes at the FSIS exhibit, including the “Kitchen Companion,” “Severe Storms & Hurricanes,” “Let’s Talk Turkey,” a “Take-Out Foods” brochure for parents, an Ask Karen magnet, the “Is It Done Yet?” brochure, at-risk booklets for people with cancer and people with HIV/AIDS, and “How Dad Got Sick,” a children’s booklet.

Of the “Take-Out Foods” brochure, one parent – Nita Ray of Fort Washington, Md. – said, “I really need that!”

The event also featured a scavenger hunt with prizes. Guests answered questions by visiting exhibitors’ booths and collecting information along the way.

The FSIS question read: “Name four steps in food handling to prevent foodborne illnesses.” The answer – clean, separate, cook and chill – is a major component of FSIS’ Be Food Safe! campaign.

If you would like to have an FSIS representative attend your event, contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at mphotline.fsis@fsis.usda.gov or 1-888-MPHotline.

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