New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Bernadette Olsen teaches food and consumer science (FACS) at the David R. Cawley Middle School in Hookset, N.H. There she helps to grow students’ independent problem-solving skills in food safety and other topics.
She teaches a number of classes to the middle schoolers including the 6th grade Family and Consumer Science Exploratory Class, in which students practice safe and sanitary skills as they complete food lab cooking projects.
In her 7th grade Foods and Nutrition Class, students evaluate scientific information, learn to identify and use reliable resources, and develop skills and techniques to create nutritious, food-safe meals.
Eighth grade students study the effects of various factors on the local and world food supply, and gain an understanding of ingredient functions in the production of commercial food products. Students once again practice food-safe skills in class.
We met Bernadette this summer at the 2017 American Association of Food and Consumer Science national conference, where she was the AAFCS representative for New Hampshire.
BAC Fighters know that there are a wide variety of food safety education resources on FightBAC.org. The site features ready-to-go campaigns that require simply a printer for downloadable brochures and flyers, or a projector for ready-made PowerPoint presentations.
Educators may also personalize Fight BAC resources using their creativity to come up with engaging new classes for their community, like Marilen Howard did. Marilen is Director of Nutrition Education & Training at Northeast Valley Health Corporation in California. She is not only familiar with the Fight BAC resources; she knows how to use them to create specially-designed presentations to educate her WIC community.
Marilen’s Keep Your Food Safe WIC classes start with Core Four food safety information, using logos and graphics from the site to create an engaging PowerPoint presentation. Each slide encourages participants to learn about and then share their home food-safety strategies. Presenters evaluate understanding using the answers given during the virtual spin-the-food-safety-wheel game. For the finale, participants watch the Story of Your Dinner video.
To keep the children busy while they are waiting for their parents to finish the class, she prints and distributes Fight BAC coloring pages.
Marilen created versions of the presentations in several of the languages spoken in her community.
What were the results of all this food safety creativity? In-person classes provided at 13 WIC sites, combined with self-learning home modules, reached over 12,000 WIC participants in April and May!
Marilen says, “We thank you so much for allowing us to use your free resources. It made our WIC participants’ class experience much better.”
BAC Fighter Jennifer Jackson is with the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities in Annapolis, Maryland. She told us, “We have a lot of fun speaking to people about food safety, and this new Don’t Wing It campaign really helped us inform them about how to practice food safety from store to table.”
Informative Fun for Older Americans Month
Jennifer and colleagues celebrated Older Americans Month in May with a fun and informative health fair booth featuring Don’t Wing It tips and guidelines. They estimate they reached about 350 people during the event.
Ask Me About My Skittles…
A display board presented the Don’t Wing It tips for the safe purchase and preparation of poultry. It also included a “Skittles” visual showing how quickly bacteria multiply when in the danger zone.
Cross-Contamination “Show and Tell”
At another station, using a package of chicken from the local grocery store, Jennifer and colleagues demonstrated how to use bags to prevent cross-contamination while shopping. This demo generated lots of questions about the proper use of the bags when handling poultry.
Heating Up Cookouts: Using a Food Thermometer
At the cookout station, Department of Aging staff demonstrated how to properly use a food thermometer while preparing food on their mini-grill. This demo received lots of positive feedback and inquiries about where to purchase a food thermometer.
Wash Hands, Not Poultry!
Many people were surprised about the recommendation to not wash poultry. Jennifer and her team talked with some older adults who were adamant about washing their chicken, but they were able to convince at least a few to change their practices after sharing Don’t Wing It information. Jennifer said, “I spoke with one lady who has been washing her chicken for over 30 years. After explaining to her the risks involved with washing poultry, she made a vow to stop washing chicken that day. She also took information for her daughter, who also washes her chicken.”
Remember This Chick?
Chelsea the Chicken was also in attendance, sunbathing at the top of the tent!
Jennifer shared: “We love all of the resources your organization provides and look forward to your next campaign!”
People in Ellis County, Kansas, will have a hard time missing information from the Don’t Wing It (DWI) food safety campaign thanks to Linda Beech, their local family and consumer sciences extension agent.
Don’t Wing It Is Ready for Action
Linda has been busy spreading the newly released consumer food safety information ever since participating in the Don’t Wing It webinar in April. This well-designed approach to poultry handling information, plus the new research, packaged together especially for BAC Fighters, makes it easy to spread the word.
She especially values the science behind the program – for example, the research on how people handle shopping carts in a way that can spread harmful bacteria, and the potential concentration of Campylobacter in just one drop of chicken juice, which is enough to make you sick.
Linda says that these point-by-point science references help her to teach in a way that people take seriously.
Spreading Don’t Wing It
She has written articles on how to prevent foodborne illness using the information in DWI for her local paper’s print and online versions. Linda has also posted on Facebook and spoken about Don’t Wing It on local radio. She featured DWI in the general county extension newsletter as well as one focused on seniors. Her mini-cable TV show about DWI reaches up to 10,000 subscribers in a three-county area. She uses the #DontWingIt hashtag in her Facebook posts about her own chicken BBQ!
Recipes with Food Safety Prompts
Linda is using the research on the success of adding food safety steps into recipe directions to beef up the recipes she uses in her newsletter. She convinced others in county extension of the value of this as well.
Facebook Comments Show Results
The comments to Linda’s posts on the extension FB page show how her outreach raises food safety awareness:
- Ok, I’m convinced… No more giving my chicken a bath.
- Great job, Linda! While I already follow most of food safety practices in your video, including cleaning the shopping cart handles, I never really connected OTHER PEOPLE’s drippy chicken packages not in a plastic bag to food safety in MY kitchen. This raises my awareness about what I should do to be responsible about food safety. Other things I do, not in your video…….I sanitize the front corners of my shopping cart, because sometimes I pull the cart instead of always pushing it; and I place meat packages in the bottom basket of the cart in the store when I have a 2 tier cart, similar to storing chicken on the lowest shelf in the fridge.
Check out more Don’t Wing It resources.
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In the spring of 2016, BAC! Fighter Marie Josephine Paredes-Umali of Valencia, California presented Fight BAC! food safety lectures in the Philippines. She found an audience thirsty for this information and learned that there were few readily available food safety training resources.
Invitation to become a BAC Fighter!
Mayors, government coordinators, market vendors and vendors selling RTE foods made up her large audiences. For many, this was the first time they had been exposed to any food safety training. Participants received a Fight BAC! Core Four Practices poster, with extra copies to post in schools, public health centers, markets, and homes. Marie Josephine invited each of the participants to become BAC Fighters.
Food Market Audits
In Makati City, the government unit official requested a food safety audit of the Sunday Market. Marie Josephine noticed many unsafe food handling practices and commented on these during her next lecture. A few days later, she repeated the audit and noticed many positive changes. Armed with food safety information, the food vendors were ready and willing to improve their practices. The Red Cross local chapter will continue to audit the market vendors’ food handling practices.
Though she is “semi-retired”, Marie Josephine opened an office in Manila– MJPU Foodsafety Consultancy—which will will focus on food safety education and helping the Philippines with implementation of FSMA.