ISU graduate student writes children's book on food safety

AMES, Iowa -- Food safety is just as important in home kitchens as it is in regulated restaurant kitchens. Because of the increased frequency and seriousness of food recalls, Armitra Jackson believes that people of all ages should be educated on the importance of food safety. That's why this Iowa State University student wrote a children's book on the subject.

Jackson, a Ph.D. graduate student in meat science at Iowa State University, focuses her research on food safety and foodborne pathogens. She is currently working with clostridium perfringens in processed meats, which is a toxin-producing foodborne pathogen. Through her research, Jackson hopes to increase the awareness of food safety.

In March 2007, Jackson began writing her first book "The Birthday to Remember Forever." The book stars two characters, Ace and Mace, who learn the importance of safe food handling in preparation for Ace's birthday party. Ace and his best friend, Mace, visit the grocery store with Ace's mom to select food for the party. It's a special trip that will teach the boys a very important lesson about staying healthy.

It is the first book in the series "Eating Safe with Ace and Mace." The series is geared toward children in kindergarten through fourth grade and focuses on the importance of handling food in a safe manner so that foodborne illnesses are prevented. As children learn the basics of food safety, Jackson says they will continue to establish safe food-handling and preparation practices as they mature.

"This series is designed to teach safe food-handling practices to children in a storytelling manner," said Jackson. "It is never too early to begin this important education process."

Jackson hopes to have 10 books in her series, with the second book coming out within the next year. Outskirts Inc., Parker, Colo., illustrated and published the book. "The Birthday to Remember Forever" is available at and

Jackson, a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, earned her bachelor of science in animal science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.