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Science and Our Food Supply

Free Supplementary Curriculum for Middle Level and High School Classrooms

What captures the interest of students? FOOD! Yes, food can be used to engage students in inquiry-based science — really!

The Science and Our Food Supply Teacher Guides are challenging hands-on, minds-on activities that empower students to make informed choices about food safety, nutrition, biotechnology, and dietary supplements. They are crafted in a teacher-friendly modular format that easily fit into science, health, and other classes.

Choose from these topics: Food Safety | Nutrition | Biotechnology | Dietary Supplements

Food Safety

Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table (2014 Edition)

FDA, in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), created Science and Our Food Supply: Investigating Food Safety from Farm to Table, an innovative, interactive supplementary curriculum for use in middle level and high school science classes. An advisory board of experienced teachers just like you developed and tested the materials.

Food safety has become an important national focus. Each year, approximately one sixth of the U. S. population has mild to severe illnesses caused by pathogens in food — and more than 3,000 people die from them. Learning food safety science will enable your students to better understand decisions and practices that may affect their personal health. It will encourage them to step up to the plate and take an active role in preventing foodborne illness.

Science and Our Food Supply Teacher Guides

This curriculum is linked to current education standards.

In each guide you’ll find in-depth activities and labs covering this broad range of topics:

  • Bacteria, including Foodborne Pathogens
  • Proper food storage and handling
  • Pasteurization Technology
  • The Science of Cooking a Hamburger
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • Outbreak Analysis

Food Safety Middle Level Guide (PDF 8MB) Food Safety High School Guide (PDF: 8MB)

Additional Program Components

Science and Our Food Supply: Fillable Student Activity Sheet

Access all the current Science and Our Food Supply student activity sheets in a fillable PDF format. These fillable activity sheets support learning on various virtual education platforms and help reduce paper use.

Dr. X and the Quest for Food Safety Interactive Video

  • Features a savvy food scientist (Dr. X) and student (Tracy) who introduce and reinforce the science concepts in the activities and experiments
  • Students will get the inside scoop on emerging microbes: how they live, grow, and s-p-r-e-a-d!
  • Explores behind-the-scenes research in laboratories and the latest food safety technologies that affect the foods we eat
  • Meet real-life scientists working in a variety of food science careers

Food Safety A to Z Reference Guide

  • The most current, comprehensive food science information in an easy-to-use alphabetical format
  • Need-to-know practices for handling, preparing, cooking, and serving food
  • Insider interviews with real-life scientists
  • Tips, fun facts, and answers to your most frequently asked food safety questions

Careers in Food Science

So you want to be a scientist? Learn all about what it takes to make it happen by checking out these exciting interviews! Professionals working in a variety of food safety careers tell all about their jobs and scientific discoveries, and reveal their secrets for success.


Science and Our Food Supply: Using the Nutrition Facts Label to Make Healthy Food Choices (2022 Edition)

Nutrition Guide for Middle Level and High School

When it comes to making science, consumer sciences, and health relevant for your students, what better way than to apply it to something that’s part of their everyday lives? Food gives you an ideal springboard for introducing the science that is at the heart of nutrition and exploring the impact that daily food and beverage choices can have on overall health.

This nutrition-based curriculum introduces students to the fundamentals of healthy food choices, using the Nutrition Facts label as the starting point, and may be used separately or in conjunction with the food safety curriculum. With engaging hands-on activities, students will become aware of calories, serving size, and the nutrients to get “more of” and “less of.” Designed for use by middle level and high school teachers, the emphasis is on an inquiry approach that is customizable to science, health, and/or family and consumer science classes, aligning with current education standards in these curriculum areas.

Your students will learn about:

  • Using the Nutrition Facts Label
  • Serving Size and Calories
  • Added Sugars in Beverages
  • Sodium in Snack Foods
  • Meal Planning
  • Healthy Eating Away from Home

Nutrition Middle Level Guide (PDF: 11MB) Nutrition High School Guide (PDF: 12MB)


Science and Our Food Supply: Exploring Food Agriculture and Biotechnology (2020 Edition)

SCIENCE AND OUR FOOD SUPPLY- Exploring Food Agriculture and Biotechnology

Food agriculture is a topic of great interest to farmers, consumers, scientists, educators, and many people of all ages. After all, all people and animals eat. Science and Our Food Supply: Exploring Food Agriculture and Biotechnology introduces science-based agricultural concepts of crop characteristics, planning, and selection. This new curriculum introduces selective breeding and a subset of techniques commonly referred to as genetic engineering (GE). GE techniques allow scientists to specifically modify DNA of a microorganism, plant, or animal in order to achieve a desired trait. For example, genetic engineering can be used to add one or more genes to an organism to confer a trait the organism does not have or to modify a trait already existing in the organism (increasing or decreasing the expression of a particular trait).

Safe and nutritious food is the foundation of good health, and people in the United States have more food choices than ever before. Several of these choices are due to continuously improving technologies in food agriculture. Many people want to know more about how their food is produced so they can make the right choices for themselves. Science and Our Food Supply: Exploring Food Agriculture and Biotechnology aims to empower you and your students to make those choices. It incorporates key scientific knowledge and education resources to help students understand how biotechnology is used to produce food for humans and animals.

Your students will learn about:

  • Selective breeding
  • DNA in food crops
  • Environmental challenges and impacts of growing crops
  • Approaches to developing food crops for countries with high rates of malnourishment
  • GE methods, including genome editing techniques such as CRISPR
  • How food from GE plants is evaluated
  • Current labeling for food containing ingredients from GE plants

Biotechnology Middle Level Guide (PDF: 5MB) Biotechnology High School Guide (PDF: 11MB)

Dietary Supplements

Science and Our Food Supply: Examining Dietary Supplements
(2021 Edition)

(Thumbnail) Science and Our Food Supply: Examining Dietary Supplements

Millions of Americans take dietary supplements, and that number continues to rise. However, dietary supplement labeling can be confusing or misleading. Teens are particularly vulnerable targets for misunderstanding what dietary supplements are and are often unaware of the potential benefits and adverse effects they can have on their bodies. This curriculum is designed to empower students to evaluate the accuracy and credibility of information they see and hear about dietary supplements.

As dietary supplements attract interest among American teenagers who are struggling with perceived or real weight issues, or striving to enhance their sports performance or overall appearance, it is important that students have the right educational tools to help them understand whether to use a particular dietary supplement. The content and activities in Science and Our Food Supply: Examining Dietary Supplements are designed to intrigue and stimulate student curiosity and help them to make healthy decisions.

In-depth information and activities covering:

  • The Supplements Facts label
  • Limited government oversight of dietary supplements
  • Adverse event reporting
  • Multivitamins
  • Live microbials (commonly referred to as “probiotics”)
  • Athletic performance enhancement/bodybuilding products
  • Dietary supplement advertising
  • Caffeine and energy products
  • Botanicals

Dietary Supplements High School Guide (PDF: 9MB)

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