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USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone Hails to the Natural State—and Makes the Local News!

Posted by Karen Munoz, LCDR, United States Public Health Service in Health and Safety
Oct 19, 2010

On October 16 and 17, the USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone was able to reach Arkansas consumers at two excellent venues. The first was the Arkansas State Fair, a crowded and busy bacteria haven, and the second was a local Kroger grocery store where consumers were buying the food they should be keeping safe. The Discovery Zone was such a hit that it even made the Little Rock evening news! Sharing their food safety information with families, kids, and some misguided shoppers, the Discovery Zone staff agreed this road trip was well worth the drive.

The very first Arkansans to tour the Discovery Zone on this trip were a young group of 4-H members. The kids were among 819 fairgoers to tour the mobile, and the Food Safety Wheel game and food safety information kits were popular as usual.

After taking the interactive tour of the Discovery Zone, one fairgoer described the experience, saying, “You see this ‘big yellow truck’ and wonder what it’s all about, then you go inside and proceed through the learning stations and think, WOW – I never knew that!”

At a Kroger store in North Little Rock, the Discovery Zone’s staff was able to correct more than a few misconceptions about food safety. One shopper told the staff he enjoyed grilling and thought nothing of serving his family and guests rare meat. After taking the tour, he vowed that he would always use a food thermometer to check food’s internal temperature before serving his guests. His wife thanked the staff for giving him a free thermometer for their next barbecue.

Channel 7-KATV reporter Holly Sonders approached the Discovery Zone staff for an interview, and even she was misled on some food safety knowledge.

At the Chill station, Sonders exclaimed, “I never knew the importance of keeping your refrigerator at the right temperature of 40°F or below.”

As long as her refrigerator felt cold, she thought everything inside was safe to eat. Thankfully, LCDR Carol McAlman of the U.S. Public Health Service gave her a thorough tour of the Discovery Zone for her segment on Sunday night’s news. You can see the video as it appeared on Channel 7 here.

The USDA Food Safety Discovery Zone invites anyone in the Washington, DC area on October 23-24 to visit us at the USA Science & Engineering Festival Grand Finale Expo on the National Mall. The Discovery Zone will be located at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW, Washington, DC, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. EDT both days.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety