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Home > Clerc Center > USDA Food Safety Camp

USDA Food Safety Camp Makes Food Handling Rules Fun

Image: USDA Discovery Zone Food Safety Mobile arrives at KDES.

USDA Discovery Zone Food Safety Mobile arrives at KDES.

Image: USDA food scientist discusses food safety quiz questions with KDES student.

USDA food scientist discusses food safety quiz questions with KDES student.

Image: USDA staffer shows germs on the hands of a student volunteer before demonstrating proper handwashing.

USDA staffer shows germs on the hands of a student volunteer before demonstrating proper handwashing.

Image: Oversized cartoon-style characters—good guy Thermy (giant thermometer prompting cooking to safe meat temperatures) and bad guy Bac (short for bacteria)—mingled with the children.

Oversized cartoon-style characters—good guy Thermy (giant thermometer prompting cooking to safe meat temperatures) and bad guy Bac (short for bacteria)—mingled with the children.

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The giant sized U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Discovery Zone mobile truck arrived at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) on October 27 to demonstrate food handling safety techniques that send germs packing!

Representatives and volunteers from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services hosted a food safety camp for KDES students from first through sixth grade and guest students from the Maryland School for the Deaf second through sixth grade. The USDA started bringing the Discovery Zone food safety camp to schools in May of 2010. The event at KDES was the first time they have ever presented to deaf and hard of hearing students.

 The USDA camp shared its Be Food Safe campaign of four easy lessons for proper food handling:

  1. Clean--Wash hands and surfaces often.
  2. Separate--Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
  3. Cook--Use a food thermometer to be sure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  4. Chill--Refrigerate or freeze promptly.

The students participated in a variety of hands-on demonstrations, guessing games and storytelling. In the Discovery Zone model kitchen USDA guides showed short cartoon videos and gave hands-on demonstrations. Students especially liked exploring the kitchen, where under glowing purple "black light" they could "see" germs that are normally invisible to the eye. Germs were everywhere on the walls and counter surfaces. With some magic dusting powder, students could even see germs on their own hands!

If you have questions about safe food handling, you can contact the USDA on-line food safety expert, Ask Karen. Karen is the USDA's virtual representative that is available to answer food safety questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week in English and Spanish.

For information in English, visit AskKaren.gov. For information in Spanish, visit Preguntele Karen.