Preventing Food-Borne Illness

Lesson Plan:  Preventing Food-Borne Illness

National Family & Consumer Sciences Standards:

8.0:   Food Production & Services

8.2.1  Identify characteristics of major food-borne pathogens, their role in causing illness, foods involved in outbreaks and methods of prevention.

8.2.7  Demonstrate safe food preparation/handling techniques that prevent cross contamination.

Common Core State Standards:

RST.9-10.3:  Follow precisely a multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.

RST.9-10.4:  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 text.


Food-borne illness can be easily prevented by careful kitchen practices. Students will learn about various food-borne illness and their consequences. They will also practice kitchen safety procedures in labs to show their understanding of these concepts.

Behavioral Objectives:

  • The student will identify characteristics of various food-borne illnesses and how to prevent them from occurring.

  • The student will utilize safe practices in handling food.

  • The student will demonstrate safe practices in cleaning and sanitizing dishes and all kitchen surfaces to prevent food contamination.

Time:    5 – 50 minute periods (for extended content)

Materials Needed:

  • Agar plates, sterile water, sterile swabs, tape, rubber gloves, Sharpies

Anticipatory Set:

Instructional Content:

Day 1

  1. Watch and write down 10 facts on the Preventing Food-Borne Illness Powerpoint. (Slides 1-8).  Have each student select the two facts they think are most important and share them with their table mates.

  1. Introduce Presentations on Food-Borne Illness. Students will be working in groups on a creative presentation teaching the class about one food-borne illness– 12 Most Unwanted Bacteria Project, Rubric. (The complete assignment is in the free book:  Science and Our Food Supply pp 25-28.) Students will use the online Food Safety A-Z Reference or The Bad Bug Book to research their presentations.

  1. Show examples of projects:  My Microbe Space, Food Flow, The 2 Day Old Chicken

Day 2

1.   Give students time to research their project and work on skits. They will present on Day 4.

Day 3

1.  Safety First in the Laboratory Handout – page 8 from “Science and our Food Supply”. Discuss lab procedures.

2.  Watch Dr. X and the Quest for our Food Supply – Part 1 and discuss their viewing and the assignment:  Bacteria Everywhere (pages 18-24 in Science and Our Food Supply). To introduce students to swabbing plates, give them a copy of page 9 – Laboratory Procedures and discuss as a class. Students design an experiment hypothesizing where they think they’ll find the most bacteria using Lab Report Outline on page 23.

Students divide the plates into thirds with a Sharpie on the bottom of the plate. Then they innoculate each section with an area they think is full of bacteria from around the school, then seal the plates with tape, making sure their name and period is written on the side. As they’re swabbing, they can fill out the first two columns of Bacteria Everywhere Data Table on page 24. They will then seal the plates and set them aside for several days (I put them on a low shelf in the pantry, because it’s such a warm area.)

Note: If you need to know how to make agar plates you could watch the following YouTube video:  How to Make LB Agar Plates. (Except – I just use Nutrient Agar and Sterile water. I also don’t reuse plates, so they don’t need to be sterilized.)

Note: If you need more information on swabbing plates, Innocuating Petri Dishes, is helpful.

4. Watch:  Soda Fountains:  Bacteria Contamination and Bacteria on your Food and discuss sources of bacterial contamination students may not have realized.

Day 4

1.   Watch and discuss:  Amazing Restaurant Violation!!, Why I Don’t Eat at Taco Bell Anymore

2. Finish showing Preventing Food-Borne Illness PowerPoint and have students take notes.

3. Students take the written quiz: Preventing Food-Borne Illness Written Quiz.  The quiz is also available to take online at Preventing Food-Borne Illness ONLINE Quiz. Teachers may access the quiz and student answers here.

Day 5

1. Presentations – 12 Most Unwanted Bacteria – Assignment, Rubric

2. Examine agar plates for bacterial growth and record evidence on Bacteria Everywhere Data Table and Lab Report Outline. Discuss results.

3. Worksheet – Being Safe in the Kitchen – work with a partner and select 10 of the situations to answer.  Students share their favorite answers.

Extended Learning

Students may complete Can Your Kitchen Pass a Food Safety Inspection? worksheet, a kitchen safety assessment.

Flipped Instruction/Independent Study Option:

Students may learn all of the lesson content online at The teacher may give the student the course code: VXMQNH9P  to enter they have logged onto the site. Then under “Washington State Safety Project” they can click on “Food Science, Dietetics and Nutrition”, then click on each of the pages to learn the information and to take the associated quiz.

Teachers wishing to have their own class site on will have instant access to all of their student progress.  For a free class site, please contact the webmaster at:


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