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News Releases
Exploring the World of Food Safety through Science: USDA Hosts Food Safety Camp for Students
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2009 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is hosting a two-day food safety camp, April 21-22, for students from Anne Arundel County, Maryland and the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School in Washington, D.C. "It is important that students be taught about food safety early so they can understand what behaviors to embrace and which ones to avoid," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "We teach safety when kids learn to swim and ride bikes, and we need to teach safety when it comes to handling and preparing food."

As a federally mandated demonstration school of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University, the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School serves students that are deaf and hard-of-hearing. "We are excited to interactively engage with students from the Kendall School," said Almanza. "We expect our relationship with the community to extend beyond today's event." As one of FSIS' latest communication initiatives, SignFSIS features text-captioned food safety video-casts in American Sign Language. In keeping with the theme of the event, SignFSIS video-casts act as yet an additional channel of communication to convey the importance of food safety.

During the event, students will meet with USDA scientists and food safety experts to learn how to safely handle and prepare food in order to avoid the spread of bacteria to prevent the onset of foodborne illnesses. Students will have the opportunity to partake in hands-on demonstrations, designed to teach food safety lessons through science. Many of the learning stations will feature a message from USDA's Be Food Safe campaign, emphasizing four easy lessons:
  • Clean: Wash hand and surfaces often
  • Separate: Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat and poultry apart from cooked foods.
  • Cook: Use a food thermometer to ensure meat and poultry are safely cooked.
  • Chill: Refrigerate or freeze promptly.

The various learning stations include activities such as: viewing common types of foodborne bacteria through high powered microscopes; hand-washing experiments using glow-in-the-dark materials; safe microwave cooking demonstration, and a food thermometer calibration demonstration.

One station at the camp provides students an opportunity to pose questions to the USDA's online food safety expert, Ask Karen, the USDA's virtual representative. Karen is available to answer food safety questions 24 hours day, seven days a week. Visit Karen any time at AskKaren.gov.

Consumers also may contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline with food safety questions. Food safety experts are available year-round from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time to answer questions (English and Spanish). The toll-free number is 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). Recorded messages are available 24 hours a day. E-mail inquiries may be directed to MPHotline.fsis@usda.gov. Podcasts and SignFSIS video-casts in American Sign Language featuring text-captioning are available on the Web at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news_&_events/multimedia/.
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Ask Karen
www.fsis.usda.gov
Food Safety Questions? Ask Karen!
FSIS' automated response system can provide food safety information 24/7
Last Modified Sep 17, 2013