Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. Chow line: Juice or whole fruit?

    Does eating a piece of fruit or squeezing it into a juice to drink offer the same health benefits? No. Even if you take an orange and squeeze fresh orange juice, drinking the juice of the orange doesn’t offer the same health benefits of eating the orange. Fruit juice lacks fiber, an important nutrient found in whole fruit, writes Dan Remley, an educator in family and consumer sciences for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “Fiber helps the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, promotes a healthy colon, and lowers blood sugar spikes, just to name a few benefits,” Remley writes in The Juice on Juice, a blog post at the Live Healthy...
  2. Fall produce. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Fall a great time for apples, peaches, blueberries, in addition to pumpkins

    I know that autumn means pumpkins will be available in abundance, but what other produce is in season in the fall? You are correct: This is the time of year when you will start to see pumpkins, squash, and gourds—which are all part of the Cucurbitaceae family—for sale in grocery aisles, farmers markets, and farms. But fall is also a good time to buy grapes, apples, watermelons, potatoes, berries, zucchini, yellow squash, and peaches, among many other seasonal fruits and vegetables. In fact, those are some of the commodities that many grocery stores are now starting to promote heavily at discounted prices in their grocery aisles, according to the Sept. 4 edition of the National Retail Report, a weekly roundup of advertised retail pricing information compiled by...
  3. Farm Science Review will hold live online sessions September 22-24. Photo: Getty Images.

    Supply chain, U.S. trade policy, COVID-19 to be discussed during Farm Science Review

    LONDON, Ohio—The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu.  The previously titled Tobin Talk, now The Talk on Friday Avenue, “Value Chains in Food and Agriculture,” on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at fsr.osu.edu, will feature comments from a panel of agricultural economists from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).  The Talk on Friday Avenue is among a series of presentations at Farm Science Review to address topics relevant to the agricultural industry, from controlling weeds and managing beef cattle to...
  4. Nymphal and adult forms of the lone star tick. Clockwise, from bottom left: unfed nymph, engorged nymph, adult male, unfed adult female, and engorged adult female. For size reference, the center dot is approximately 0.8 mm diameter. Photo by Jeffery Alfred, used with permission from Iowa State University Extension.

    Chow Line: Tick that causes meat allergies found in Ohio

    Is there a tick that causes people to develop an allergy to red meat, and can it be found it Ohio? Yes, to both of your questions. The tick you are referring to is called the lone star tick, which, in certain cases, in some people, can cause an allergy to red meat after being bitten by the tick.  This species of tick entered Ohio over the last decade or so. It has since spread throughout the state, although it is more common in southern Ohio, said Tim McDermott, an educator with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).  While the lone star tick prefers a wooded habitat, in many cases, it can also be found along the perimeter of pasture and hay fields that extend...
  5. Photo: CFAES

    Ohio 4-H blog brings STEM education to you virtually

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Interested in experiencing the COSI sensory playground virtually through the 360-degree lens of a 9-year-old? Want to learn how to conduct a field trip around the world through the use of virtual reality? Have you ever wondered how to make your own lava lamp?  A new website offered by the Ohio 4-H STEM program can show you all that and more.  The Ohio 4-H STEM blog provides youths, teachers, youth development professionals, volunteers, and parents with hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math ideas that are applicable to students of all ages.  The blog, which is organized by subject areas and categorized by grades K–12, offers engaging STEM programming that promotes and excites exploration and learning, said Mark...
  6. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Peaches recalled due to salmonella

    Last week it was onions, and now this week peaches have been recalled due to salmonella. What is salmonella, and how do fruits and vegetables get contaminated with it? Good question. First, let’s look at the current recall that was linked to loose or bagged peaches packed or supplied by Prima Wawona or Wawona Packing Company LLC, according to an Aug. 27 alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The peaches, which were sold in many large retailers, including Aldi, Target, Walmart, and Kroger, were recalled due to potential contamination with salmonella enteritidis. A list of the impacted fruit can be found here. The peaches recall occurs as a nationwide onion recall—also due to salmonella contamination—was expanded Aug. 18 ...
  7. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Tips to save money on groceries

    My grocery bill has risen by almost $80 a month since March and it’s becoming harder to keep spending so much more than we used to. Do you have any tips on how we can cut our food costs? You aren’t alone in noticing the increase in the price of some foods. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices increased some 5.6% in June as compared to the same time last year. Additionally, between March and June, the cost of poultry and eggs have increased more than 7%, while the costs of veal and meat has increased more than 20%.  Much of the increase, experts say, has been attributed to several reason, including the increased demand for groceries with more people buying food to eat at home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as issues...
  8. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Some onions, ready-to-eat meat, and poultry products recalled

    How do I know if the onions or other food products in my pantry or fridge are part of a recall I just heard about? There are currently two recalls to which you might be referring. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning recently about onions that have been recalled by Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif., due to concerns that the products might be contaminated with salmonella Newport. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert this week for ready-to-eat meat and poultry products containing onions that were a part of the FDA warning. According to the FDA, the onions, recalled on Aug. 1, include all of Thompson International’s red, white, yellow, and sweet...
  9. Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention

    Chow Line: CFAES center offers food safety resources, information

    Is there a local source that I can use to find information and resources on food recalls?  While there are several online sources of information on food recalls, the Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) at The Ohio State University not only publishes information on the latest food recalls, it also provides multiple food safety resources, training, education, and information. Founded as a nonprofit organization in 2006, CFI brought its 14-year record of protecting public health to Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) in September 2019.  The center, which is now housed within the CFAES Department of Food Science and Technology, has a mission to advance a more scientific, risk-...
  10. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Meat thermometer is the best option to ensure food safety when grilling meat

    Why should I use a meat thermometer while barbecuing steak on the grill? Can’t you just look at the steak to determine if it’s done by the color of the meat? Although many people use color as an indicator of doneness when grilling meats, to lessen your chance of developing a foodborne illness, it’s best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that your meat is cooked to the correct internal temperature.  Your question is very timely, considering that July is National Grilling Month, with July 4th generally accepted as the most popular U.S. holiday for grilling, surveys have shown. And because your question is very similar to one that was asked in a previous “Chow Line” column, it’s best answered by reissuing that column here. According to...
  11. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Avoid hand sanitizers that contain methanol alcohol

    I’ve been searching for hand sanitizer and finally found a large bottle at a nearby store. The problem is, when I got home, I found out that it has methanol alcohol in it. Is it safe to use, and is it effective against COVID-19? No, it’s not safe to use, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In a series of advisories posted over the past several days, the FDA has issued warnings about several hand sanitizers that contain methanol alcohol, because methanol can cause serious side effects when absorbed through the skin and can cause blindness or death when swallowed. In fact, the FDA has published a list of hand sanitizers that it is advising consumers not to use because of potential methanol contamination. The federal agency said consumers should “...
  12. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Don’t bleach your food to protect against COVID-19

    I’m really worried about COVID-19 and want to keep my family safe, so lately, I’ve been rinsing my fresh fruits and vegetables with a mixture of bleach and water. That’s safe, right? No, that is not safe. You should NEVER wash or rinse ANY food product with any form of bleach, disinfectant, or any other household cleaning chemicals. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a notice to consumers alerting them to the dangers of rinsing, soaking, or washing any food products with bleach or disinfectant, after a significant number of consumers have been doing just that. Calls to poison centers around the country regarding exposures to cleaners and disinfectants have increased sharply since the beginning of the COVID-19...
  13. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Salad recall prompts questions of parasite

    I read something about a salad recall due to cyclospora, but I’ve not really heard about cyclospora before – what is it? Cyclospora cayetanensis is a microscopic parasite that can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue. When people eat food or drink water that’s contaminated with cyclospora, they can develop an intestinal illness called cyclosporiasis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced June 19 that they are investigating a multistate outbreak of cyclospora potentially linked to ALDI Little Salad Bar Brand Garden Salad from ALDI grocery stores, Hy-Vee Brand Garden Salad from Hy-Vee grocery stores, and Signature Farms Brand Garden Salad from Jewel-Osco.  As of now, the recalled...
  14. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: First day of Summer? A look at what fruits and vegetables are in season now 

    Summer is finally here and I’m craving fresh cherries, sweet corn and delicious ripe tomatoes fresh off the vine. What other fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer? With tomorrow, June 20, being the first day of summer this year, now seems like a good time to revisit what fruits and vegetables are in season now. As published in a previous “Chow Line,” summer heat and long days make it a good time to indulge in a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, melons, sweet corn and tomatoes, among a wide range of plentiful produce. Not only are these items extremely fresh and flavorful because they’re in season, they’re also widely discounted because of the abundance of supply based on the time of year. Improved technology and...
  15. Judit Puskas, wearing a homemade illustration of her polymer face mask. She is currently in the final stages of developing a new polymer face mask that she expects will be more effective in the fight against COVID-19. Photo: Judit Puskas.

    Ohio State researching, testing polymer face masks to protect against COVID-19

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—While many people are encouraged and, in some cases, mandated to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are some complaints that have become a common refrain: the mask doesn’t fit correctly, it’s uncomfortable, it’s too hot, or the mask is hard to breathe through. However, a material scientist at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is working to change that.   Judit Puskas is in the final stages of developing a new polymer face mask that she expects will be more effective in the fight against COVID-19. Puskas, who is a Distinguished Professor in polymer science in the CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, has a ...
  16. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Vitamin D and COVID-19

    My wife heard that vitamin D can help with symptoms of COVID-19. Is that true? Your question is on the minds of many consumers, as more people have been reaching for vitamin supplements to boost their immune system amid the coronavirus pandemic. Vitamin D, which plays a wide variety of roles in boosting the immune system, is one of those supplements that has seen increased sales in recent weeks.  It helps the body absorb calcium, which builds strong bones and prevents osteoporosis. Vitamin D’s effect is significant: If you don’t get enough, your body absorbs only 10% to 15% of the calcium you consume. With vitamin D, absorption jumps to 30% to 40%. In addition, muscles, nerves, the immune system, and many other bodily functions all require vitamin D to do...
  17. Tiny white larvae in a strawberry caused by spotted wing drosophila. Photo courtesy of Hannah Burrack, North Carolina State University, Bugwood.org.

    Chow Line: A tiny worm in your strawberry won’t hurt you

    I just saw a viral video that shows little tiny worms coming out of a strawberry soaking in salt water. Is that real or a prank? Can I get sick from eating strawberries if they do have worms? Many people in recent weeks have been surprised to learn that yes, sometimes fresh produce can contain small pest infestations that, while may sound gross to some, really aren’t harmful for consumers.  In fact, there is a strong likelihood that you’ve already unknowingly consumed a tiny worm or insect or two during your lifetime.  The Food and Drug Administration has guidelines for how many bugs or how much mold is allowed in each type of food. Using what the FDA calls food defects standards, the agency sets the maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects that...
  18. Photo: Getty Images

    Ohio State offers tips for vendors, consumers when shopping at farmers markets amid COVID-19

    COLUMBUS, Ohio— At this year’s farmers markets, you’ll find Ohio farmers selling the fresh foods you’re used to buying. However, there won’t be any farm-fresh food samples to taste, and the music and children’s activities that typically accompany the markets will likely be canceled. Ohio farmers markets, farm markets, and you-pick operations want you to know they are open, they’re taking precautions to keep consumers safe from COVID-19, and they’re fully stocked with locally grown and produced foods.  Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted growers, local farmers, and livestock producers, these groups are continuing to plant, harvest, and market foods directly to the public, said Shoshanah Inwood, assistant professor of...
  19. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Canning expected to be big this year amid COVID-19

    I’m growing my own produce this year since I’ve got time on my hands due to the pandemic. I want to be able to store the foods that I grow and don’t immediately use, but I have no idea how to get started. Do you know of any resources? Home food preservation is expected to be very popular this year, as many people such as yourself have taken on several kinds of new hobbies to pass time while staying home during quarantine.  Temporary business closures due to stay-at-home orders have also resulted in more people turning to gardening, whether due to a fear of food supply chain disruptions or a desire to have more control over the foods they eat. Nationwide, more consumers are expected to plant gardens this year. For example, online searches for “growing...
  20. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: After the flood

    My home was flooded, impacting food I had stored in cabinets, my pantry, and my fridge. As my home dries out, what do I do with the food? Many Ohioans have experienced similar problems recently as heavy rains, flash floods, and flooding have caused water-soaked homes and businesses, and evacuation situations across the state. Because your question is very similar to others that were asked in previous “Chow Line” columns, it’s best answered by reissuing a combination of those columns here. If your home becomes flooded, it is important to throw away any food that might have come into contact with floodwater. That includes cartons of milk, juice, or eggs, and any raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, unless they were in a waterproof container, any foods in your...
  21. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Questions on meat safety and supply amid COVID-19

    Is it safe to eat food or meat if it has been handled by someone who has COVID-19?  According to food safety and meat science experts, the risk of acquiring COVID-19 through the handling of food or meat is extremely low. In fact, there is no evidence at this time that COVID-19 can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated foods, said Lyda G. Garcia, an assistant professor of meat science with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).   COVID-19 transmits person-to-person through droplets that are produced when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. The virus is most often transferred to another individual when droplets directly reach their nose, mouth, or eyes, or through close contact such as a handshake...
  22. Photo: Getty Images

    New CFAES groups assist Ohio food producers, consumers during pandemic

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Buy local foods. The supply is there, despite what you might see in some grocery stores. That’s the message many local farmers, growers, and livestock producers want consumers to know about food-buying options as the nation continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.  While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions with food processing and distribution link breaks in much of the food chain system nationwide, one segment of the food system that has worked by adapting quickly to overcome these challenges is the local food system.  Local farmers and livestock producers are continuing to plant, harvest, and market food directly to the public allowing consumers to continue to access locally produced fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, and...
  23. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Face masks and eating

    I now wear a mask every time I leave my house, and I plan to do so as long as we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. But I haven’t figured out how to eat or drink with a mask on. Do I take it off or pull it up between bites? Any tips on what to do? As states ease their stay-at-home orders and people return to venturing out of the house, your question of how to eat or drink while wearing a face mask is one that is likely to come up frequently. According to published reports, some restaurants in Hong Kong, for example, have begun providing patrons with a clean bag to store their masks in while they eat at the restaurant. With that in mind, if you do plan to eat when out in public, you should carefully take your mask off completely without touching the outside of the mask, said...
  24. Photo: Getty Images

    Got financial questions? Ask a financial expert

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Many Ohioans struggling financially have questions, and The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) might have the answers. With Ohio’s unemployment rate hitting a five-year high as the nation continues to deal with the health and financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, numerous consumers statewide have financial questions as many try to manage the biggest economic challenge they’ve ever faced. More than 1.1 million Ohioans have filed for unemployment benefits since March, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Nationwide, some 33.5 million Americans are out of work, with 14.7% of the population unemployed, the highest since the Great Depression, economists said today....
  25. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Not all foods fit for humans are fit for dogs

    I’ve recently adopted a dog. He’s been a great companion for me as I’ve been sheltering at home alone during the coronavirus pandemic. As this is my first time as a dog owner, I’ve given my dog bites of food from my meals in addition to his own dog food. Is that OK? Congratulations on becoming a new dog parent! Many people such as yourself have become new dog owners in recent weeks as people continue to abide by stay-at-home orders and have sought companionship by welcoming new pets into their homes. In fact, animal rescue centers and shelters nationwide have reported a spike in adoptions and foster applications since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including for example, the Franklin County Dog Shelter, which has reported an increase in pet adoptions,...

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