Our team is pleased to announce our most recent digital educational outreach product, Cleaning and Sanitizing Farm Tools and Equipment, available in English and Spanish. These virtual labs guide users through cleaning and sanitizing procedures to minimize potential contamination from pathogenic microorganisms on surfaces such as tools and equipment, thereby reducing cross-contamination and the incidence of foodborne illnesses.
Proper sanitization is both best practice and a requirement of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Covered farms must inspect, maintain, clean, and sometimes sanitize food contact surfaces, including tools and equipment, to protect against the contamination of covered produce. This educational outreach tool helps producers understand how, when, and why to to take these steps, as well as understanding the difference between cleaning and sanitizing, and how to test sanitizer concentrations.
This short introduction explores the risks of farm tools and equipment transferring pathogens from humans, animals, soil, and water. It also explains why surfaces and tools must be first cleaned, and then sanitized, in order for sanitization to be effective.
Test Strip Lab
The Test Strip lab leads the user through the process of testing chlorine concentrations for sanitizing tools and equipment.
The Titration lab addresses the titration method of monitoring sanitizer concentrations, using peroxyacetic acid as an example.
For instance, we tried several different ways of moving through the content, and finally landed on one that is straightforward, intuitive, and easily enables mouse, tap, and keyboard control.
One interesting addition we made was to add a character to the virtual lab that takes you through the entire
process as a learning companion. She is on screen the entire time, and the lab content is written in a conversational style to make it feel like you're there with
someone training you, explaining the issues as you go in an approachable and friendly manner. You see her react to the things happening in the lab, so it brings a level of emotion to the lab, which increases engagement with the material.
We also added spot animation in several areas to add some visual interest or make clear what's happening in the scene. Animation is expensive, so there's an upper limit to how much we can add for a given project. But with clever setups and code-driven animation, we were able to add more animation than we expected.
The virtual labs are fully localized into both English and Spanish. We worked with a professional translator to get all of the virtual lab's content into both languages. This will help people using the lab learn in their native language, which improves comprehension and retention. That, in turn, will help ensure produce safety remains high for everyone!
This project was sponsored by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. New Mexico State University’s Innovative Media Research and Extension Department was responsible for design production.
Financial support for this educational resource was provided by the WSDA Food Safety Program, the WSDA Regional Markets Program, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Written by John “CC” Chamberlin, Lead Developer