Lab activity: Food Safety - Keep It or Toss It

January 14, 2015

A recent question about food safety brought up a great idea for an activity.  The teacher wanted to find an interesting approach to review some otherwise very bland food safety handling practices.  Here is the idea I came up with:

  1. Pick 15 or 20 common examples of violations.  Different types of food left out, poor hygiene, and expiration dates.
  2. Place each of these of the examples around the room and/or lab area.  Each of these will be stations for the lab.
  3. Provide a prop or picture of the poor practice or violation for each station.
  4. Also provide a scenario, here's an example:  you found this jar of mayonnaise when you came in the kitchen this morning.
  5. Your students can pair up or individually rotate through each station.  I suggest 30 seconds to 1 minute per station.
  6. At each station the students will identify whether to keep or throw away the food item or re-clean the equipment/work surface.
  7. The students must also explain which food safety explains their decision.
  8. Once complete the students stay at their last station and as a class you go over each of these. 

This activity is a great way to apply real world experience to a common problem.  All the students in your class aren't going to be in the food service industry.  But they will all be out on their own within the next few years.  Think about all the times you've opened the refrigerator to find a snack and end up having to decide whether or not to eat something that has been in there for an unknown time. 

We do cover some elements of food science in our Agriscience curriculum. We'd love to see your pictures of your results. Send me some feedback and follow us on Pinterest and Twitter

Have a great week at school!