You appear to be using a browser that is no longer supported. You may find that you are unable to use all features on the site. We recommend upgrading or changing your browser, if possible.
Skip to main content
Search... Open this section

Clean Food (clip 2)

A warning about reheating food from the 1950s

  • Print All


Made in the mid-1950s, this documentary set out to promote the importance of cleanliness when handling, preparing and eating food.

This clip talks about the dangers of reheating food featuring animated dancing germs. The footage shows a young boy returning home from school to make himself something to eat and features interesting shots of the interior of a typical family home from the 1950s.

Questions & Activities


  • Why do you think Johnny is cooking his own tea?
  • Why does Johnny put the kettle on the cooker?
  • How many types of food can you see? Is this the kind of food you'd eat when you got home?
  • Why is boiling point shown at 210 degrees?
  • What kind of reheated food is not safe to eat?
  • How does the last part of the film break the fourth wall convention - what is the effect of this?


Look at the domestic appliances in the kitchen. Discuss what has changed and what are the current dangers in the kitchen. How would the type of metal used in the pan effect the nutrients in the food?

What do you think they meant by food value? Why shouldn't you taste food from the spoon and put it back in?

How accurate is the representation of bacteria? Discuss what does reheating do to the bacteria and show how does this differ from the process of sterilisation.

Play the film without the sound and then write your own narration that explains the science behind the images.

Compare this film to modern food hygiene public information films. Make your own animation about food hygiene. How would you depict bacteria?

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-000-207-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, Technologies, Media Studies, Social History
Who Central Office of Information Dept. Of Health for Scotland (sponsor), Stanley L. Russell (director), Thames and Clyde (production company)
Where Glasgow
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 2:43
Film Length 16:04