Ethics – Human Case Study (2010) - Bacteria from Hamburgers

Mon, 2012-02-27 09:29 -- pwhippey

Description of the Project

The purpose of our experiment is to determine which food preservation method (i.e. the use of hot water, chemicals, or UV light)is the most effective.

Bacteria from uncooked hamburger meat was cultured in a number of Petri dishes. Various food preservation methods (i.e. the use of hot water, cloves, garlic, salt, vinegar, and UV light) were tested to see which would be best at inhibiting bacteria growth.

Question: Is this experiment exempt from the requirements of Policies 4.1.2 and 4.2.2? The hamburger was purchased at a local grocery store.

Advice or Ruling

This project is approved for presentation at the Regional Science Fair and the Canada Wide Science Fair.

Policy 4.1.2 - Use of Animals does not apply to this project, because it does not involve live animals.

It must follow the intent of Policy 4.2.2 - Recombinant DNA and Biotechnological Safety.

In particular: " These animal tissues may only be displayed at the fair if they are prepared and sealed (lamella, plastination)."

Your Project

If your proposed science fair project involves the participation of humans or the use of animals,
  1. Visit the Ethics web page so as to become familiar with the policies.
  2. Fill in the Request for Advice or a Ruling.
  3. Submit it to the Ethics Committee of your Regional Science Fair.


These case studies summarize interesting examples of science fair projects involving humans or animals submitted to the Youth Science Canada National Ethics Committee for review. A brief description of the proposed project is given, along with the ruling given by the Ethics Committee. Some details may have been changed in the descriptions so that the original source cannot be identified. The ethical challenges described have not been changed.