When experiments with food are carried
out, it is worth arranging for the class to be transferred
to the Home Economics/Food Technology Department for
the session, especially if the food is to be tasted.
This minimises risks and also reinforces the special
nature of laboratories in students’ minds. If
a laboratory has to be used for tasting activities it
should be made very clear to students that tasting activities
are exceptional, and that normally, eating and drinking
in the laboratory are not permitted.
Particular attention must be paid to hygiene
for tasting investigations. For example all bench surfaces
should be cleaned and preferably disinfected so that
students do not inadvertently pick up spilled chemicals
on their hands. The use of plastic sheets as for microbiology
experiments may be considered. All equipment must be
scrupulously clean and where a student tastes food with,
for example, a teaspoon, this must be adequately sterilised
before reuse by another student. The use of disposable
plates, cups and spoons is preferable. If normal laboratory
glassware is to be used, it is a good idea to have separate
stocks that are reserved solely for tasting investigations.
Even in investigations where food is not intended to
be tasted, there may be a temptation for students to
try to taste it. They should be warned against this.