Iowa State University


Peggy Sherry, Families Extension, (515) 294-1592
Jim Huss, Families Extension, (515) 294-3527
Michelle Johnson, News Service, (515) 294-8986


AMES, Iowa -- Oh, no! Chef Artichoker is thawing the Thanksgiving turkey at room temperature. The evil Petri J. Contaminator threatens to infect it with vile bacteria. Food safety super heroes Cooker and sidekick, Mini-baster, save the day -- and Thanksgiving dinner!

A new Saturday morning cartoon? No, a Web-based comic strip that holiday cooks of all ages may find helpful this time of year.

The comic strip is part of "Safe Food: It's up to You," a food safety curriculum designed specifically for young people by Peggy Sherry, a research associate in Iowa State University's Extension to Families.

"The holidays present the perfect opportunity to not only teach kids about cooking, but food safety as well," said Sherry. "Information included in the sites is really beneficial to any age group."

Chef Artichoker, owner of Artichoker's Cafe, learned a valuable lesson from Cooker and Mini-baster: Meat must be thawed in a sink with cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or it can be contaminated with foodborne pathogens.

The curriculum site also features a talking turkey, FAT TOM, who raps a special food safety message on the characteristics of food.

Additional tips on how to properly purchase, store, prepare and serve turkey can be found at the "Let's Talk Turkey Food Safety" page. The page also addresses Thanksgiving leftovers and wraps up with turkey trivia.

The Web sites -- designed by Sherry with the help of fellow researchers Jim Huss and Pat Redlinger, both ISU Families Extension program specialists -- are part of a Web-based food safety initiative underway in ISU's Families Extension. The project is funded by the USDA.

The "Let's Talk Turkey Food Safety" and "Safe Food: It's up to You" sites can be accessed from the following Web address:


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