To Wrap or Not to Wrap? Which Food Wrapping Works Best to Prevent Food Spoilage?

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Author: Muriel Gerhard



Middle School

Difficulty of Project



$ 20

Safety Issues

Plastic gloves

Material Availability

Readily available from any supermarket.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

3 weeks. This includes experimentation and collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and completion of bibliography.


To determine which food wrapping works best to prevent food spoilage in refrigerated and non-refrigerated foods.

Materials and Equipment Required

  • 7 Apples
  • 7 Bananas
  • A large box of Strawberries and a large box Blueberries
  • Saran wrap
  • Wax paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Hefty one zip plastic bags
  • Brown paper bags
  • Plastic containers


Background Information

On the information level, this experiment serves to acquaint students with current  data  on preventing  food  spoilage and the need to prevent food contamination from bacterial and mold infections and  growth as well as from poor conditions of storage prior to delivery to our grocers and supermarkets. What becomes clearly evident and of prime importance is the need to preserve food to insure its safety and nutritional value. Becoming knowledgeable of the various products on the market claiming to prevent and retard spoilage and testing their efficacy is both a practical and useful outcome.

This science fair experiment also serves to acquaint students with the essential processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and or graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings.  They take on the role of scientists and in the process they learn to act as one.

Research Terms

  • Refrigeration
  • Dehydration
  • Molds
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
  • Dry Ice
  • Food and Drug Administration

Research Questions

  • To what extent is food spoilage a problem in this country?
  • What is the function of the Food and Drug Administration?
  • How do fungi and bacteria get into our food?
  • How do we control and inhibit bacterial and fungal infections in food?
  • How does refrigeration safeguard our food? How does dehydration help preserve our food?
  • Why is dry ice recommended in instances when we lose our electrical power?  

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

  • What is a control?  A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
  • What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or possibly caused the change.
  • What are variables?  Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
  • What is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment.
  • What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the change in the independent variable.
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