Food Safety Week 2011- What goes on behind closed doors?

This week is Food Safety Week (6-12 June) as hosted by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is well-timed given the E.coli outbreak in Germany. The FSA are exploring what goes on behind closed doors – to see what people really do in their own homes when preparing and cooking food. They are also debunking some common food hygiene myths and explaining, for example, why you really shouldn’t wash poultry and why you shouldn’t eat food past its ‘use by’ date. I know I have had to debunk some of these myths in classes, with the 5-second-rule being a current favourite!

Food Safety can easily be included in the curriculum from the simple importance of washing hands to investigating how foods can change if they are not stored properly. In my cookery classes I strongly state the importance of food safety including washing hands properly, wearing aprons and tying hair back and hopefully my pupils take these good habits back home with them.

The Food Standard Agency resources are available throughout the year along with TES who also have some great resources at the moment for Food Safety Week including the mouldy sandwich experiment that I did with a class of year 6 pupils last year. The experiment certainly made the children think about why they should wash their hands before touching food. They were fascinated watching the different moulds develop and it also initiated scientific questioning. You can see instructions and a photo from our experiment below.

Mouldy Sandwich Experiment

3 slices of bread

3 resealable sandwich bags


1) Label the bags: control, clean hands and dirty hands.

2) Pass a slice of bread around the class and get all the children to touch it then place the slice in the dirty hands bag. Seal the bag.

3) Get the children to wash their hands and pass around another slice of bread. Place this in the clean hands bag. Seal the bag.

4) Place the last piece of bread, that no one has touched, in the control bag. Seal the bag.

5) Place the bags in a cool dry place and record daily observations. You’ll be surprised how quickly the mould begins to appear.


About Julie @ Apple & Thyme

A Derbyshire/Staffordshire based business that provides creative food education with the aim of making good food and cookery skills accessible for all.

Posted on June 6, 2011, in Resources and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I tried this experiment early in the school year with no success. After several weeks we had no mold on any of the slices. I’m not sure why it didn’t work.

    • Hi Amber, I have seen this happen once (I can’t remember what brand of bread it was, but it was a longer life variety) and it is due to the large amount of preservatives that are put in some brands of bread. So while the bread may not be growing mould as fast it wouldn’t be fit to eat. It can be used as an example of how preservatives are used in processed food.

  2. I baked homemade bread so there wouldn’t be any preservatives in it for my experiments! Viola! It worked =)

  3. we have 2 kindergarteners who are doing this as a science fair project. Would you mind telling us how long the mold took to start growing? It would help us know when to start!

  4. HoW long did it take?

  5. maybe this will be enough to make my kid wash his hands!

  6. Angela Harrington

    I’ve had the bread in a ziploc bag for two months and nothing has happened.

  7. What would happen if you placed the bags in the window? would it speed up the process?

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