Science project

Preservatives in Food

This project is about learning how preservativesin food extend the shelf life of goods. The goals are to encourage students to understand the value of both organic foods and preservatives.


How do preservatives in food affect the shelf life of food and other goods?


  • Camera
  • Plastic food containers
  • Paper plates
  • Organic and non-organic bread
  • Organic and non-organic milk
  • Several kinds of organic and non-organic produce. Strawberries are ideal if they are available, but celery, cucumbers, other berries; red or green peppers are excellent as well. Be sure to purchase an organic and non-organic variant of each fruit of vegetable.


  1. Identify a working area that will remain un-disturbed for a week. If you are going to be comparing organic and non-organic milks, select an area in a shed or basement because the smell can be pretty “skunky.”
  2. Put two or three organic strawberries on a plate. Repeat with non-organic strawberries. Label the plate as to whether it is organic or non-organic.
  3. Repeat step 2 with the other fruits and vegetables you selected.
  4. Label two plastic food containers “organic” and “conventional.” Measure 0.5 cup organic milk and put it on one container. Do the same with the non-organic milk.
  5. Repeat step #4 with the organic and non-organic bread.
  6. Take photos of each food item.
  7. Observe your foods and write up your observations every day for a week. Take photos of every food item. Looking a shelf life alone, which food would be more economical for stores and consumers?
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