In one of its many outreach programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently teamed up with The Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) in Washington, D.C. to bring food safety education to deaf and hard of hearing students.


FDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a food safety education camp at KDES to teach basic safe food preparation protocol and other food safety facts.

“The students also have an opportunity to really understand how to prepare foods, how to keep them at the right temperatures, what needs to be refrigerated, or frozen or otherwise,” said KDES principal Nancy Berrigan.  

KDES is a private day school for students from birth through the age of 15 (8th grade) located on the campus of Gallaudet University, a college specializing in the undergraduate education and development for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Berrigan said the camp offered an opportunity for students to see firsthand what bacteria looks like and what foodborne illnesses are.

Not only did the students get to learn about food safety, but they also got to star in FSIS’s Youtube video of the camp. “I learned about food safety and if mold or bacteria grows it can make you sick and if you leave it on the counter for under two hours its fine, but if you leave it out for over two hours, it’ll make you sick,” said one student interviewed in the clip.  

Teaching children to be aware of food safety is one of the first steps towards protecting them from illness, explained Cody Thornton of USDA’s FSIS. “they don’t yet understand the problems that mundane actions that they do when they eat their food, what that effect could be on them,” he said.


Photo, courtesy of the Food and Inspection Service, USDA, is of “Thermy,” the FSIS outreach character whose message is: “It’s Safe to Bite When the Temperature is Right.”