The USDA’s Food Safety Discovery Zone (FSDZ) kicked off the 2011-2012 season on Thursday, October 13, 2011, by wheeling in to Lake Anne Elementary School in Reston, Va., and educating 280 students about food safety!
Throughout the day, the FSDZ staff gave students an exciting tour of the Food Safety Mobile and educated them about the four basic steps of preventing foodborne illness: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill.
The students were especially fascinated by the “Germs that Glow in the Dark” station, because they were able to see how many germs were present on hands that weren’t properly washed under the ultraviolet light. “As you can see, it is really important to wash your hands properly!” Public Affairs Specialist Mary Harris told the group.
Outside the Food Safety Mobile, the FSDZ staff asked students several food safety questions. “How long are you supposed to wash your hands?” Acting Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager Kathy Bernard asked the group. “20 SECONDS!” many students yelled back.
“You’re right! Now… the next question: How do you keep your lunch cold?” Bernard asked. Many hands were raised, but one student was picked to answer the question. “I put an ice gel pack in my lunch bag to keep it cold!” the student responded. “Hey, I use a frozen juice box in my lunchbox to keep food cold!” another student happily interjected. “Good! Either an ice gel pack or a frozen juice box is very important to have in a lunch box!” Bernard replied.
After the tour, students and teachers picked up bags filled with useful food safety educational materials and keepsakes from the FSDZ staff. “It’s so important that students and teachers have these materials, because they can always check them anytime if they ever need information on a specific food safety topic. We also tell students how important it is to share these materials with their family and friends,” Harris said.
“We are looking forward to doing more of these tours! Please come visit us when we are in your area and learn more about food safety!” Harris added.
The FSDZ staff already has visits planned for October and November. To find out when the FSDZ is coming to your area, please check the FSDZ calendar!
If you would like to have FSDZ visit you, please contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854).