Teaching Youth Food Safety: A Game-Based Learning Experience

Avoiding Cross Contamination

As the player enters the Mid Eat Val level, they are able to serve fish, along with chicken and sliced meat. This new ingredient offers additional learning points. In cooking fish, chicken, ground beef, and steak, the player relies on the temperature guide to realize foods must be cooked to different temperatures. In addition, the player can slice beef for a steak salad and serve fish that has been filleted. The food can be sliced or filleted before or after cooking, but if food is sliced before cooking, cutting surfaces must be washed before placing fresh fruit or cooked food on the board, emphasizing the importance of avoiding cross- contamination (Figure 5). Applying Multiple Food Safety Concepts The game has three main learning outcomes for players: Wash hands before preparing food, avoid cross-contamination from raw meat and dirty produce to cooked or ready-to-eat foods, and cook foods at the proper temperature. Throughout the majority of the gam e, players can “see” contamination on hands and surfaces: Dirt from hands is brown, contamination from produce is green, and possible bacteria from meat is red. In the final levels, the players can no longer see this contamination and must work from memory to keep customers safe. In this final level of the game, the player has an opportunity to test themselves, having practiced and internalized the proper behavior without seeing contamination (Figure 6). This is an important final step, as we cannot see contaminated hands, produce, and meat in the real world.

Figure 5: Raw meat contaminates surfaces; players need to clean it to avoid cross-contamination.

Figure 6: In the game’s final levels, players cannot “see” the contamination, adding an extra challenge for the player.

The first time the player tries to serve contaminated food to the customer, the head chef offers a warning and keeps them from doing it. After that initial warning, if the player serves contaminated food, it ends the level with a newspaper headline stating food safety violations have occurred.

Accessibility Challenges Leading to Better User Experience Removing motor control barriers . “Theme Park Kitchen” can be played using a computer trackpad or a mouse, but it also can be fully played using a keyboard. We intentionally designed the game this way to give players an alternative to clicking and dragging elements during gameplay and remove an interaction barrier, supporting users with certain motor needs for game controls. Also, being able to fully play the game using a keyboard improves the overall experience, allowing players to be agile while serving the customers. Feedback from user testing sessions shows youth players appreciate being able to play using the keyboard. User feedback also guided our team to

Figure 7: Tutorial on how to play using keyboard


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