Food Safety Gets Poetic

New York Students capture essence of 4 core food safety practices with haiku

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BAC Fighter Tara Mateo looked beyond the typical learning tools of worksheets and quizzes for a way to teach food safety – poetry!

After learning all about the four core messages, Tara’s students weren’t given an everyday quiz. Instead, they were instructed to write haikus. Short, simple, and reflective, these poems are the perfect way to convey food safety steps.

Learning didn’t stop in the classroom! Tara’s students hung their finished haikus around the rest of the school so that other students could learn about food safety too.

Thank you Tara and students for spreading these messages!


School Starts with Food Safety

BAC Fighter Stephanie Castillo plans a packed Food Safety Education Month for Kansas Students

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Stephanie Castillo, a BAC Fighter from the Kansas Family Nutrition Program, always kicks off her work in elementary schools with Food Safety Education Month. Last September, Stephanie taught hand washing and food safety to 614 students!

Here are some of the tactics she used to make sure her elementary students got the most out of Food Safety Education Month:

  • Interactive tools

Stephanie used a thermometer, ice pack, strainer, scrub brush, and two separate cutting boards to teach students how to practice the four core food safety steps.

  • Story time

The He’s BAC Storybook and BAC himself turned story time into food safety time. Stephanie also read Germs! Germs! Germs! and Oh! The Things You Can Do That Are Good For You to teach kids all about staying healthy.

  • Pass the germ game

Stephanie crocheted “germs” that the students could pass around. They passed them around in a circle until instructed to stop. Students left holding the germs were out of the game.

  • Eating germs!

Yuck – not that kind of germ! This one is made of crackers, cream cheese, and pretzels. Get the recipe here.

  • Glo Germ machine booths

To teach the important of hand washing, Stephanie set up an interactive Glo Germ booth. Students were able to see where they needed to work on proper hand washing techniques.
We can’t imagine many more fun ways to teach kids about food safety and hand hygiene! Keep up the good work, Stephanie!


Rinse at your Own Risk!

BAC Fighter collaboration urges consumers to stop rinsing chicken


Dr. Jennifer Quinlan brought together a team of BAC Fighters from Drexel University and New Mexico State University to set the record straight on one hot button topic. They’re telling consumers: “Don’t Wash Your Chicken.”

To the estimated 90% of consumers still rinsing chicken, this declaration comes as a shock. Most will ask, “But why not?”

The Don’t Wash Your Chicken campaign has that question covered.

Using humorous video mini dramas, cooking demos, and photo-novellas with recipe cards, the campaign clearly conveys to consumers the reasons that they shouldn’t wash their chicken:

1) Cooking to 165° Fahrenheit kills the bacteria

2) Washing actually spreads the germs all around your kitchen

For any skeptics, the video mini dramas feature “germ-vision” overlays, giving viewers a visual of the slimy, green, germ splatters that will most likely result if they opt to rinse their poultry.

To soften the blow for many veteran rinsers, the campaign also reminds them that removing the rinse step actually makes cooking chicken easier and simpler. Changing behavior is not to so bad after all!

All of these education materialas are available and able to be downloaded at the website:

Thank you Drexel University, New Mexico State University, and the USDA on this wonderful work to Fight BAC! ®


A Full Year of Food Safety

New Jersey Calendar Contest Reaches Students and Food Handlers

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Jeanne Garbarino and her fellow BAC Fighters from New Jersey’s Vineland Food Safety Council and the Vineland Health Department are passionate about keeping their city food safe. Last fall, they launched the 2014 food safety calendar contest to make sure students and retail food establishments receive an annual supply of food safety tips.

The BAC Fighters invited 1st – 12thgrade students to design posters about the importance of food safety. Each grade level was given a different category to focus on:

  •     Grades 1-5: The importance of hand washing when handling food.
  •     Grade 6: Minimum cooking temperature requirements for different foods.
  •     Grade 7: Temperature requirements for holding food safely.
  •     Grade 8: Cooling foods safely.
  •     Grades 9-12: Foodborne pathogens and illnesses.

The Food Safety Council and Health Department chose 12 winning posters (one from each grade level) for printing in the final 2014 calendar. Once printed, they sent the calendar to more than 400 food establishments in the city where they will be viewed by food handlers on a daily basis!

This contest is a unique way to teach Vineland students and food handlers valuable food safety information. Great work fighting BAC®, Vineland, New Jersey!


Eat Well and Play Hard

Shari Portnoy brings healthy eating messages to Brooklyn Kids


Shari Portnoy works hard to bring nutrition, fitness, and food safety information to daycare centers in Brooklyn, New York as part of the Eat Well Play Hard in Child Care Settings program. Eat Well Play Hard aims to provide consistent and positive messages about eating healthy foods and being physically active to three and four year old children and their parents.

Recently, Shari used Fight BAC!® materials and posters to teach a group of 35 about food safety. She designed her class to facilitate discussion with parents. First, they collected snacks from tables Shari had set up beforehand. These weren’t just snacks – they were learning tools! Shari then asked the parents to make observations about the food and a discussion began that transitioned into an important food safety lesson.

Thank you, Shari for bringing important Fight BAC!® messages to Brooklyn kids, parents, and daycare staff!

Shari Portnoy is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Fitness Trainer (CFT) you can read more about her here: