Seven years ago extension agent Dianna Bowen with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, was approached by a local science teacher who wanted to incorporate food safety into the classroom science curriculum.
Dianna used Fight BAC materials to develop a program that uses science experiments to teach the core four practices of food safety: clean, separate, cook and chill. Students who participate in the program make hypotheses and test theories while learning home food safety skills.
To teach the “clean” step, Glo Germ powder is used to demonstrate how easily germs spread. To explore cross-contamination, a sponge with colored water is used to represent raw chicken. During the experiment students see the “raw juice” transfer to other surfaces and learn the importance of separation. To demonstrate cooking food to the safe internal temperature using a thermometer, students compare food that has been cooked properly with food that has not. For the final experiment students use thermometers to compare how quickly water cools in shallow and deep containers and learn about the danger zone.
Since she began the program, Dianna has reached more than 1,100 eighth grade students! A more basic version of the program has been taught to fifth graders, and a modified version of the program has been used in Family and Consumer Science classes as well as with adult audiences.
Dianna presented a poster about her program at the October 2019 NEAFCS conference in Hershey, PA.
Thank you to Dianna and the BAC Fighter community for continuing to teach the importance of food safety to students and consumers!
Dianna Bowen is a Family and Consumer Sciences agent with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. She can be reached at (501) 676-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.