Four Keys; USDA Discovery Zone teaches kids about importance of food safety
Clean, separate, cook, chill are the four key stages to practicing the safe handling of food. That was the message heard by groups of elementary school children on Tuesday (May 3) as they toured the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone, a 40-foot mobile interactive learning kitchen that teaches food safety and the prevention of foodborne illnesses.
The Discovery Zone made a stop at Texas Tech's Department of Animal and Food Sciences where students learned about washing their hands before and after handling raw foods, separating raw foods to prevent cross-contamination, proper cooking temperatures and how to adequately store food to prevent the growth of bacteria.
"I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Texas Tech," said Kendra Nightingale, an associate professor and food safety expert in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. "It's a huge thing for the government to come to Lubbock to really tell us how important they think we are in terms of our program here in food safety, and food safety is important to everyone from the farmer to the parent. It's a great opportunity to have the ability to expose children to food safety and let them know everyone plays a role in the process."
According to the USDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one in six Americans, or a total of 48 million, get sick from foodborne illnesses each year.
The Food Safety Discovery Zone, which travels to fairs and small schools as well as events with about 200,000 people, teaches visitors of all ages how to prevent foodborne illnesses through the four stages:
- Clean: wash hands and surfaces often.
- Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry apart from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook: Always use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.
- Chill: Refrigerate or freeze food promptly
"We're here to help everybody know the simple ways to stay safe at home," said Adam Ghering, a member of the USDA food safety education staff. "Inside it's geared more toward children and each state has an interactive stop to it, and the kids just love it. The kids have wide eyes, for sure, when they see the lighting and the wheels, and they're learning super things like washing their hands and handling food. The smiles afterwards and the high-fives we get really tell the reaction."
Written by George Watson
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0505NM16 / For a full text of the story and a video produced by TTU Communications and Marketing, click http://today.ttu.edu/posts/2016/05/usda-discovery-zone
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