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Middle School Food Safety Lessons

Lesson 3 High PressureBAC Phooey Treatment
National Health Education Standards
(grades 5-8) 1:1; 4:3; 6:3
  
introduction
  1. Connect this lesson with Lesson 2 Chain of Food by asking students to think about how the chain of food even in the 1800’s and early 1900’s was shorter than today. Remind the students that even their grandparents living today could tell them how they kept food safe without refrigerators, sophisticated manufacturing, or electricity.
  2. Ask the students:
    “Can you suggest ways that food was preserved in the days before electricity?”
  3. List the student’s suggestions:
    Salting, drying, canning, chilling, freezing (by use of ice boxes and ice houses)
  4. Inquire of students:
    “What do all these methods have in common?” (They kill or slow down bacteria growth; change in texture of the food.)
  5. State:
    “In addition to destroying bacteria, scientists are continually searching for new methods to kill bacteria without damaging the appearance, taste, texture, or nutritional value of food. We will hear more about this in our video.”

    6. State:
    “I would like the students who brought in food to discuss that food and tell us what they know about how it is preserved.”

    7. Ask the students:
    “What do you think are the positives and negatives of the various methods of preservations?”

activity 1
  1. State:
    “I am handing out some questions for you to think about while you are watching Dr. X and the Quest for Food Safety, Module 3.”
  • “What new ways of processing foods did Dr. Sizer talk about in the video?” (The discussion should lead to pasteurization, irradiation, and ultra high pressure treatment.)
  • “What are the benefits of ultra high pressure treatments over other forms of pasteurization?” (High pressure can kill bacteria without affecting the nutrition, color, or texture of food.)
  • “Why can you use ultra high pressure treatment with orange juice and not a marshmallow?” (Orange juice contains water that protects it from being crushed by the ultra high pressure. A marshmallow contains air and would be compressed to the size of a BB.)
  1. Show the video Dr. X and the Quest for Food Safety, Module3, Processing and Transportation (7 minutes).
activity 2
Ask the students:
  • “What new ways of processing foods did Dr. Sizer talk about in the video?” (The discussion should lead to pasteurization, irradiation, and ultra high pressure treatment.)
  • “What are the benefits of ultra high pressure treatments over other forms of pasteurization?” (High pressure can kill bacteria without affecting the nutrition, color, or texture of food.)
  • “Why can you use ultra high pressure treatment with orange juice and not a marshmallow?” (Orange juice contains water that protects it from being crushed by the ultra high pressure. A marshmallow contains air and would be compressed to the size of a BB.)
activity 3
  1. State:
    “Let’s see how ultra high pressure treatment works to preserve food.”
    Ask two students to fill the two plastic bottles completely to the top with water, put a grape in each bottle, and tightly close the caps. The water bottle represents the ultra high pressure equipment and the grape is the food being pressurized.
  2. Ask the students:
    “Who thinks they can crush the grape by squeezing the bottle?” Have the students try to crush the grape. “Why can’t you crush the grape?” (Water in foods protects the food structure from physical damage during compression. As long as the food is mostly air-free and contains water, pressure doesn’t “crush” the food.)
  3. Ask the students:
    “Why is pressure being applied to the food?” (Pressure is applied to kill the bacteria.)
  4. Ask the students:
    “How are bacteria killed by the high pressure?” (Bacteria are living organisms and the pressure affects their cellular functions. When high pressure is applied to all sides, the enzymes are inactivated.)
closure
Review the lesson by saying:
“Throughout the ages, people have found ways to preserve food. Scientists are continually developing new, improved methods of preserving foods. In addition to pasteurization and irradiation, bacteria are now also killed by a new process called ultra high pressure treatment.”
integration ideas
Ask the students to:
  • Research and write about food preservation methods in a different period of history. Essays should be posted to share with classmates.
  • Hypothesize about other ways they can think of that science might help us preserve foods in the future, and how they would design an experiment to test the hypothesis? Indicate which foods they would use the “process” for.
  • Interview a neighbor or grandparent who lived as early as 1925. Ask them to write an essay to share with the class (by posting their essays) about how their family preserved food when they were young. Compare these methods with today’s lesson.
  • Investigate how people in a country in the Far East preserve food and to write an essay to explain their findings. Post the essays.
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