Anatomy of a Food Recall: E- Learning Assignment

I’ve always struggled with how to teach about the role of government agencies in safeguarding our food supply in a way that students could understand. Then I happened upon an article in our local paper from our extension agency that made it so much easier. The article was titled “Anatomy of a Food Recall” and really broke the information down. I decided to make it into a virtual learning assignment. So here is the “Anatomy of a Food Recall: E-Learning Assignment”…I hope you can use it regardless of how you are teaching your students this year!


  • I would teach this in conjunction with my food safety unit as it really does go hand-in-hand with the information.
  • If I was in the traditional classroom, I would write the abbreviations of the government agencies on the board and see if students knew what they represented.
  • Assign students the article to read titled, “Anatomy of a Food Recall” from Penn State Extension. Again, if I was in a traditional classroom, I would probably read this aloud, together as a group.


  • iPads or Laptops
  • Screen & Projector


  • Using the article, students decipher the acronyms or abbreviations for the government agencies.
  • Students then explore why food might be recalled, giving descriptions and examples.
  • Students answer additional questions regarding the categories of food recalls, the goals of FSMA and how it impacts food facilities and farmers, how social media has influenced food recalls and where you can find updates about food that has been recalled.
  • After completing the above questions, students must use the internet to find a recent food recall and answer questions relating to the article they just read.
  • Finally, students view the video Food Recalls are on the Rise. Ask why is it a good thing. Students then identify concepts and information from this video that were similar to the article, listing all that applied.


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