Healthy Schools! Healthy Kids! logo Rhode Island Food Safety Lessons
Lesson 1
   Pre/Post Test
Lesson 2
   Pre/Post Test
   Food Safety
Lesson 3
   Pre/Post Test
   Handwashing    Rules
Lesson 4
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Lesson 5
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Elementary School Food Safety Lessons

Lesson 4 Buy Safe Food
Put Food Away Safety

National Health Education Standards
(grades 1-4) 1:1; 3:1; 3:3;6:3

Introduce this lesson: (modify introduction if you did not teach lesson 3)
“I expect that you are remembering to wash your hands—just like we did in our last lesson. Raise both your hands to take a look at them. It feels good to keep clean, doesn't it? When we keep our hands clean, we help keep ourselves well. We keep the "bad" bacteria from making us sick. When do we wash our hands?”
(Have students, in turn, read from board:
  • After using the bathroom.
  • Before eating or drinking.
  • Before preparing food.
  • After touching a pet.
  • After coughing or sneezing (remember the Panther picnic) into our hands or blowing our nose.
  • After touching a cut.
  • After playing outside.
  • After touching raw or uncooked meat, fish, or poultry.)

“Today we are going to discuss food safety when we go to the grocery store and when we put groceries away. We will visit the second and third floors of our FOOD SAFETY HOUSE when we talk about what to do when we are in the grocery store and what to do when we put the groceries away at home. We re going to be 'food safety smart.' We will also see a video that helps us understand more about safe food storage. We have a lot to do!”

activity 1
  1. State:
    “I'd like to show you a few grocery items that I've saved. How are these items alike? (Damaged, open bags, dented or swollen cans) Do you think your family should buy these items at the grocery store?”
  2. Discuss why we do not purchase damaged grocery items and solicit from students other items not to purchase—such as foods that should be refrigerated or frozen that have been left in places they do not belong, such as a package of meat found in the canned vegetable aisle. Try to illicit how wasteful and discourteous it is to put something in a grocery store where it does not belong—rather than taking it back where you found it or to the check-out clerk to decide where it should be returned.
activity 2
  1. State:
    “When you are at the check-out counter of the grocery store next time, I want you to be a 'food safety detective.' Watch what the food packer does with your family's groceries. Here are some rules that should be followed: (Place on board)
  • Pack cold foods in one bag.
  • Pack foods like hamburger and raw chicken in a separate bag.”
  1. Discuss:
    Invite the students to suggest why these rules need to be followed (bacteria grow if there is warmth and moisture—pack foods that need to be kept cold in the same bag. Pack foods that might drip [such as raw meat] in a separate bag, to keep them from dripping on other foods.)
activity 3
  1. Share with students:
    “Now we have our groceries home. Now it is time to help our family put the groceries away so they are safe. We put groceries away carefully so that 'bad' bacteria does not increase and make us sick. Can anyone suggest which foods are put away first?” (Bologna, cheese, milk, chicken, hamburger—these are the foods that must be kept cold so "bad" bacteria will not grow as fast.)
  2. State:
    “Here is a rule to remember: 'Place it food safety smart.' What do you think that rule means?” (Discuss why raw meat or poultry is put on a paper towel or clean plate on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator—to help these foods from dripping on others! These foods may have "bad" bacteria, before cooking, that will drip on other foods and make us sick.)
  3. Say:
    “Remember, too, when handling raw meat to wash your hands. Lots of rules! But they are easy rules and will keep the whole family well.”
Summarize by saying:
“You are 'food safety smart students'—you know that cold food should be packed in a separate bag at the grocery store, that it should go in the refrigerator right away. You know that meats and poultry need special care--store them on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator with a plate or paper towel to catch drips. Why?” (Ask the students) “You are again reminded that all your family members need to wash their hands to keep the family safe from 'bad' bacteria getting into the family's food.”
integration ideas
  • Students who are computer literate can check the following web sites for more information about food safety:

    Cells Alive (
    Gateway to Government Food Safety Information (
    Introduction to Bacteria (
    SCILINKS: The World’s a Click Away (, keyword: Food Safety, Code: FS300)

    These students can be asked to share new information with students in their class.
  • The school's food service director can be asked to speak to the class about how food for the school's food service is stored. Ask the director to discuss the storing of both perishable and dry foods (insects and mice pry on dry foods and carry germs).
  • See Lesson 3 for more suggestions.
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