Food experimentation


​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).​

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in food experimentation (e.g. cheese making) that involves the introduction of agents or conditions that may contaminate food as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than one CARA guideline (e.g. science investigation, experiments and activities, biological activities) must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.

For activities conducted at a non-Department of Education venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure.​

Medium risk
Food experimentation activities.
High risk
Any food experimentation activities that introduce agents or conditions that promote food contamination and chemicals which constitute a hazard.

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

​Experiments involving the production of food that is intended for consumption (e.g. sherbet, ice cream, bread, cheese and wine making) must be conducted in an area, and with equipment, that is appropriate for food preparation (i.e. not with laboratory equipment).

Experiments involving preservation of food (that is not for consumption) that may lead to contamination (e.g. growing mould) must be conducted in a science laboratory.

Open wound management must occur before, during and after the activity. Consult infection control guidelines and Queensland Health's exclusion periods for infectious conditions (PDF, 1.5MB)​ poster for first aid and hygienic practices.

Follow the guide to managing electrical equipment in departmental schools and workplaces, standard operating procedures (SOP) for equipment and machinery resources and manufacturer instructions.


Parent consent (DOCX, 306KB) is required for all activities conducted off-site and strongly recommended for high risk activities conducted on-site.


Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students' ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable.

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

For medium risk activities:

At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching in food experimentation and the use of all equipment required for the activity; or

  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with qualifications or accreditation in science and/or home economics and/or hospitality (e.g. Certificate I in Hospitality or similar) or other demonstrated competence determined by the principal.

For high risk activities:

At least 1 adult supervisor is required to be:

  • a registered teacher with qualifications in science and/or home economics and/or hospitality (e.g. Certificate I in Hospitality or similar) or other demonstrated competence determined by the principal and competence (knowledge and skills) in food experimentation and contamination, the use of all equipment required for the activity, and in handling chemicals that constitute a hazard; or
  • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with qualifications or accreditation in science and/or home economics and/or hospitality (e.g. Certificate II in Hospitality or similar) or other demonstrated competence determined by the principal and (knowledge and skills) in food experimentation and contamination, the use of all equipment required for the activity and in handling chemicals that constitute a hazard.

Facility and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken, including sufficient space to prevent overcrowding (in kitchens – recommended 900mm bench space per student; maximum of 3 students per stove), adequate lighting and ventilation to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed. Undertake a reconnaissance of new or infrequently used locations to ascertain suitability.

Participants must wear personal protective equipment as relevant (e.g. safety glasses with Australian Standard specification, appropriate non-porous enclosed footwear, gloves, clean apron, hair coverings, bright coloured waterproof dressings).

Ready access to appropriate safety equipment, including fire extinguishers and fire blankets, must be available.

Consumables to be provided as required (e.g. cleaning agents, hand soap, paper towel).

Aids for safe handling, lifting and carrying (e.g. oven cloths, guards, safety steps and mobile trolleys) must be available.

Hand washing, washing-up facilities and garbage disposal facilities must be available.

Adequate facilities for food storage (cold and dry) must be available.

Adequate number of easily accessible power outlets must be available.

Equipment must be sized to match the ability of students. Benches to be appropriate height and accessible for all students (recommended height for kitchen benches is 800–1,000 mm).

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instruction.

A maintenance schedule (e.g. checking for damage, repairing, sharpening) must be established and enacted for all plant and equipment used in the workspace. Consult Equipment Maintenance Records (EMR) documents.

A retirement schedule must be developed to replace plant and equipment by manufacturers' nominated expiry date or when significant wear causes a hazard.

A process for checking for damage for all equipment used in the activity must be established and employed.

Preparation surfaces and equipment (including serving plates and dish cloths) must be sanitised with commercial cleaning agents used at the minimum necessary strength.

Clean up equipment including a broom, dustpan, breakages bin and spill kit must be available.

Consult chemicals in curriculum activities for support in assessing the risks of chemicals used with/by students in curriculum activities.

If a CARA record is required in OneSchool, a summary of chemicals, plant, equipment and/or materials used in the activity must be provided by entering directly onto the CARA record in OneSchool or by attaching a summary. Sample templates are provided on chemicals in curriculum activities and plant, equipment and materials in curriculum activities.

For high risk level activities:

A fume cupboard must be available when the presence of toxic gases is a possibility.

Hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Biological material

Ensure all food items used comply with Food Standards Australia New Zealand and are not subject to any current food recalls when providing ingredients.

Provide explicit instruction in preventing food poisoning: handling and hygiene.

Adhere to the infection control guideline regarding sickness (e.g. vomiting, diarrhoea), contamination (e.g. blood, saliva) and hand hygiene (e.g. hands and nails washed thoroughly with warm running water and liquid soap, and dried thoroughly using a single use towel or disposable paper towel).

Do not allow tasting equipment to be shared.

Ensure contaminated food stuffs, other substances and products are not consumed.

Environmental conditions

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Hazardous chemicals

Ensure chemicals that are toxic are not used in a food preparation area.

Correctly label and securely store all chemicals according to storage compatibilities in the SDS in a cool, dry area, away from general student use.


Control the environment for pests (e.g. use fly screens and food covers).

Use appropriate equipment to handle food safely (e.g. tongs, serving spoons) and to heat or cool food (e.g. ovenproof dishes).

Equipment and implements stored safely and securely when not in use.

Extreme temperatures sources

Provide explicit instruction in heating oil, including:

  • dangers of overfilling a fryer or leaving unattended
  • using a temperature controlled deep fryer rather than a saucepan for deep frying
  • ­use only suitable fats and oils
  • ­consequences of spills of other liquids into oil.

Sharp implements or objects

Keep knives sufficiently sharp to allow for easy cutting and store in a way that allows safe selection.

Slips, trips, falls

Procedures must be in place to immediately manage the removal of all spilt substances (e.g. breakages bin, mop, spill kit for large spills).

Student considerations Control measures


Students aware of the location of emergency and first-aid equipment.

Student issues

Ensure fingernails and hair do not pose a hazard.

Monitor and enforce the correct use of equipment.

Maintain close supervision of students.

Medical conditions

Ensure staff can easily recognise those students with health support needs and are familiar with their needs.


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Last updated 13 July 2022