With support from a NIFA award (2012-70003-20059), University of Delaware Food Science and New Mexico State University Media Productions created and assessed an interactive web-based food safety game, Potluck Panic!. Players of Potluck Panic! are challenged with serving safe foods by recognizing and minimizing risky food handling practices from production through processing, packaging, distribution, and final handling. Game play features nine challenge levels of content complexity for food safety risks and prevention strategies. Gaming features include visual and textual prompts, music and other sound effects, random distribution of corrective action cards that necessitate player strategizing for success, bonus cards to incentivize play, and scoring and timing features. Embedded learning supports include repetition of concepts across commodities and the food safety continuum, an Ask-a-Scientist help feature, and feedback for player actions that fail to minimize food safety risks. Formal, Institution Review Board-approved, assessment of Potluck Panic! with over 300 post-secondary students demonstrated a positive impact on player food safety awareness and interest. Secondary school educators provided positive evaluation of Potluck Panic! with envisioned use of the game as a valuable educational tool to reinforce subject content and inspire student career choice. Potluck Panic! was honored by the Association for Communication Excellence with the Silver Award in the Interactive Media Program. Potluck Panic! is available for public use.
NIFA supports Potluck Panic! with Higher Education Challenge Grant funds.
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