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Clean Food (clip 1)

Food handling advice from the 1950s

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Made in the mid-1950s, this documentary set out to promote the principles of healthy eating.

This clip demonstrates the importance of cleanliness when handling, preparing and eating food. The narrator says that "the food code" is as important as the Highway Code. It shows shots of various people washing their hands, a woman cutting white bread, workers being served food, workers eating their meals at canteen table. There are also shots of women pre-packing meat (all wearing covered hair, but no gloves), a woman selecting fish from an open display in fish monger's. She sneezes without covering her mouth; then sneezes again, this time using a handkerchief. Further shots of woman serving in a bakers, using her breath to blow open paper bags, which she then fills with food.

Questions & Activities


  • Why is it important to avoid sneezing on food or other people?
  • What colour plasters do food workers wear today?
  • What does the film tell us to do and are the messages still true?
  • Think of any public adverts or information films you know - how have these types of films changed.
  • Have food hygiene techniques improved since this film was made and do people follow them?


Find out from school canteen staff the health and safety procedures they have to go through to prepare the food. Then make your own public information film in style/about food hygiene today.

Design a poster about hand-washing.

Research when the first ready meals appeared and investigate why this was. Research the industry today and discuss whether food preparation adds value and who benefits. Look also into the environmental aspects of food production and research any hidden costs.

Compare the food served in canteens then and now. Investigate technology in the kitchen that they would not have had in the 1950s.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-205-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1102
Date 1957
Genre Public Information, Sponsored. Educational
School Subject Home Economics, Science, Health and Wellbeing, Media Studies, Business Studies, Art and Design
Who Central Office of Information Dept. Of Health for Scotland (sponsor), Stanley L. Russell (director), Thames and Clyde (production company)
Where Glasgow
Event Working life
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 3:41
Film Length 16:04