It was a chilly but beautiful Friday when the Food Safety Discovery Zone joined vendors at the USDA Harvest Festival to celebrate the end of a successful growing season for the People’s Garden. Even among the jazz band, petting zoo, and the smell of kettle corn in the air, the giant yellow Food Safety Discovery Zone was impossible to miss. Designed to make food safety education fun for kids, the 40-foot long mobile exhibit attracted masses of visitors of all ages who wanted to know how to safely prepare the food they were buying at the festival or for the upcoming holidays.
A family was standing outside the FSDZ when a woman finished her tour. She was overheard telling them, “You should go inside. They showed us how we were supposed to check the thermometer inside the refrigerator to make sure the refrigerator is below 40 °F.”
Among farmer’s market visitors were also hundreds of USDA employees who wanted information for their friends and families. “I came over to pick up the Kitchen Campanion handbook that my colleagues told me about. I need to have a few copies for my friends!” one USDA employee told the FSDZ staff.
At the other end of the table, people were crowding around the Spin-the-Wheel Food Safety Game eagerly waiting for a turn to test their food safety knowledge. “In order to win a prize, you have to answer the food safety question correctly!” Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager Kathy Bernard told them. Kids impressed the staff with their answers and took home hamburger key chains from the game.
Anticipating another snowy winter in the capital area, some attendees were already asking for information about food safety in a storm.
“We were able to reach out to approximately 2,000 consumers today. It was really fantastic,” said FSDZ Project Leader Mary Harris. “They asked so many good food safety questions!”
To find out when 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.