Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Slow cooker safety

    I put a roast on to cook in my slow cooker and went to work. When I got home, I realized that the power had gone out at my house at some point during the day. I checked my slow cooker and the power was off, but my roast looked like it cooked fully. Can I still eat the roast? Great question! However, I’m sorry to say that unless you are able to tell how long the roast was in the slow cooker without adequate heat, it’s best that you toss it out, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.   Generally speaking, perishable foods that have been at temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for two hours or more will need to be discarded to avoid the development of harmful bacteria that could cause a foodborne illness....
  2. Photo: Getty Images

    News tips and events for the week of Oct. 14

    Tip 1: Tax school soon in session: How to deal with the new tax law (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) for both individuals and businesses is among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School for Tax Practitioners workshop series offered throughout Ohio in late October, November, and December. Register at go.osu.edu/2019taxschools two weeks prior to the school date and receive the early-bird registration fee of $375. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $425. Registration includes all materials, lunches, and light refreshments. The workshop series is one of two tax education options that Ohio State University Extension is offering this fall. The second option is Ag Tax Issues, a daylong webinar that will be broadcast Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m...
  3. The pawpaw was named Ohio's official native fruit in 2009. (Photo: CFAES)

    Chow line: Pawpaws making a comeback in Ohio, other markets

    What is a pawpaw, and is it healthy for you? The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit that is native to the United States, grown indigenous in some 26 states nationwide including Ohio. The majority of pawpaws are grown from the Great Lakes to the Florida Panhandle, with mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states being the primary growing region. Grown on trees, pawpaws ripen in the fall and are generally harvested from late August to mid-October. Not to be confused with papayas, the skin color of ripe pawpaws can range from green to brown or black on the outside and is yellow on the inside, with a ripe pawpaw about the size of a large potato. The meat of the fruit, which is soft and mushy like an avocado, has been described as tasting a little like a rich, custardy tropical blend of banana,...
  4. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Alternatives to sugar

    I want to lower my sugar intake, so I’m looking for a sugar substitute for my coffee. What are the different types of sweeteners?  First, I want to congratulate you on your decision to lower your sugar intake. Lowering your sugar intake is a wise and healthy choice, as research shows that consuming too much sugar can increase your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.  If you want to lower your sugar intake from your coffee to zero, you could choose to drink it black.  But, if you’d rather not do that, you aren’t alone. Some two-thirds of coffee drinkers and one-third of tea drinkers add milk, cream, sugar, flavorings, or other additives to their drink, according to a study from the University...
  5. Venison. Photo: Getty Images.

    Chow line: Handling venison safely during harvesting and preparation key to stemming foodborne illnesses

    Hunting season starts soon, and we want to make sure we safely prepare any meat that we bag. Can you share some tips on how to do so? Deer hunting season in Ohio begins tomorrow, Sept. 28, and runs through Feb. 2, 2020. Last year, hunters in Ohio checked 172,040 white-tailed deer, and more than 250,000 white-tailed deer the prior year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.  With that in mind, it’s important that any venison derived from hunting be handled safely to avoid the spread of foodborne pathogens, which could cause foodborne illnesses. Venison is meat from wild game such as deer, elk, moose, caribou, antelope, and pronghorn.  Pathogens such as E.coli, salmonella, and toxoplasma are typically found in the...
  6. Vegetables rich in potassium. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Many options for potassium

    My doctor told me that I need to increase my potassium intake, but I’m not the biggest fan of bananas. How much potassium should I have daily, and what are some other foods that are good sources of it? Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that people need as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Potassium is vital because it regulate your body’s fluid balance and controls the electrical activity of your heart and other muscles. It also serves several other functions in the human body. It lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of stroke, supports bone-mineral density, protects against loss of muscle mass, and reduces the formation of kidney stones. Consuming a high-potassium diet has been linked to a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, said Pat...
  7. Photo: Ken Chamberlain

    News tips and events for the week of Sept. 16

    Tip 1: Farm Science Review, the annual agricultural trade show sponsored by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), is Sept. 17–19 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38 NE, London, Ohio. The show offers talks, displays, field demonstrations, and hundreds of commercial exhibitors. Visitors can also attend an agriculture industry career fair, and peruse the latest in farm machinery and technology. FSR features 4,000 product lines and over 700 commercial and educational exhibits, as well as workshops and presentations delivered by CFAES experts. Expected total attendance is more than 100,000. FSR hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Sept. 17–18 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. Tickets for the event are $7...
  8. New Ohio State center focuses on improving food safety, preventing foodborne illness

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—At The Ohio State University, a new food safety center will provide a centralized location for food safety resources and will further establish the university as a global leader in food safety.  The Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention (CFI) will bring its 13-year record of protecting public health to Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).  Founded as a nonprofit organization in December 2006, CFI’s mission is to advance a more scientific, risk-based food safety system that prevents foodborne illnesses and protects public health by translating science into policy and practice, said Barbara Kowalcyk, a CFAES assistant professor of food science and technology and an internationally...
  9. Photo: Ken Chamberlain

    Farm Science Review: Helping farmers mitigate 2019 farm crisis

    LONDON, Ohio—Whether it’s learning how to navigate new tax laws or understanding the complexities of the U.S. trade policy and its impact on agriculture, Ohio farmers likely have a lot of questions as they work through the 2019 farm crisis. Faculty and staff of The Ohio State UniversityCollege of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) will answer some of those questions and address some of the top farm management challenges facing Ohio farmers in 2019 during next week’s Farm Science Review. The annual farm trade show, sponsored by CFAES, takes place Sept. 17–19 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, 135 State Route 38 NE, in London, Ohio. The 2019 growing season has been particularly challenging for Ohio growers and producers due to the...
  10. Master Gardener Volunteer Amy Chenevy shows veteran Jeff Smallwood how to transplant tomatoes in the Heroes Garden. Photo: Mike Hogan.

    Veteran farming program offers heroes help

    Bob Udeck gingerly uses his hands and feet to slowly steer his four-wheeled walker carefully through the dirt- and grass-covered field, adeptly maneuvering through the ruts, divets, mounds of dirt, rocks, and plants that line the path leading to the Heroes Garden. The 74-year-old Vietnam veteran pulls up to a section of raised garden beds filled with rows of radish and pepper plants and smiles as he admires his handy work: Many of the plants have already begun bearing fruit, some of which were ripe and ready for picking. “I used to farm when I was younger,” Udeck said, as he wistfully looked out over the plot that houses the Veteran Farming Program. “It feels really good to get your hands dirty again—planting something, nurturing it, and watching it produce...
  11. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: New research shows washing raw poultry dangers

    I just can’t stomach the idea of not washing raw chicken before cooking it. The slime on it is really off-putting. Isn’t rinsing out my sink afterward good enough to prevent spreading any germs? No, it’s not. You shouldn’t wash or rinse raw chicken or any other raw poultry before cooking it, because doing so doesn’t kill any bacterial pathogens such as Campylobacter, salmonella, or other bacteria that might be on the inside and outside of raw chicken.  When you wash or rinse raw chicken, you are likely splashing chicken juices that can spread those pathogens in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some estimates say the splatter can spread out and land on...
  12. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Healthy, safe lunch options for back to school

    School is back in session for my fourth grader, and he’s decided this year that he wants to pack lunch for the first time. Any tips on how to make sure his packed lunch is safe and healthy? Considering that nearly 40% of school-aged kids bring their lunches to school on a given day, it’s important to take some simple precautions to ensure that your son has a safe, nutritious meal to eat and enjoy. When deciding what to pack, it’s a good idea to include lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products in his lunch. If you want to pack your son a sandwich, opt for whole-grain bread and veggies for toppings. If you want to be a little fun and adventurous, use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into fun shapes for your child. As a...
  13. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: FDA warns consumers to stop drinking sodium chlorite products

    I just saw a social media post warning against drinking Miracle Mineral Solution. What is it, and why shouldn’t I drink it? Miracle Mineral Solution is a mixture of distilled water and sodium chlorite. It is sold online as a purported treatment for several diseases and conditions, according to the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. But, instead of helping consumers, the product has sickened numerous people who’ve ingested it, the FDA said As a result, the federal agency this week warned consumers to stop drinking the product, which is also known by several names including Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide Protocol, and Water Purification Solution, according to the FDA. “Some distributors are making false...
  14. Photo: Getty Images

    News tips and events for the week of Aug. 12

    Tip 1: Seminar on Precision Livestock Farming: Daniel Berckmans, emeritus professor, animal and human health engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, will discuss how smart technology monitoring can be used for animal welfare and human health engineering. The “Precision Livestock Farming (PLF): A Game Changer for the Worldwide Livestock Production” seminar is Aug. 15 from 10–11:30 a.m. in room250A, in the Agricultural Administration Building, 2120 Fyffe Road, in Columbus. Hosted by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE), the seminar will discuss how emerging smart technology can be used to improve our ability to spot and treat animal...
  15. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Food safety and homemade fruit- or vegetable-infused water

    I’m planning to add either fresh strawberry or cucumber slices to a pitcher of water to serve with a lunch I’m hosting. Are there any food safety concerns that I need to be aware of when making fruit- or vegetable-infused water? Infusing water with fruits or vegetables is a wonderful, healthy, and delicious way to add flavor to water without adding sugar. Not only is infused water a simple way to stay hydrated, but it has also become increasingly popular among consumers who are seeking healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. However, when preparing fruit- or vegetable-infused water, it’s important to keep food safety in mind to prevent the potential of developing a foodborne illness. In fact, you should handle infused water as you would any perishable food,...
  16. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Multiple ways to disinfect drinking water in an emergency

    The water supply for my household has been disrupted twice this summer due to historic rainfall levels, leaving us faced with boil alerts due to floodwaters. But since our power was also out because of the storms, we had to buy bottled water instead. Is there any other way to clean the water in a situation like that?  Many people in Ohio and throughout the Midwest have experienced similar situations due to the excessive rainfall that has hit the region recently.  In fact, May 2018 to April 2019 was the wettest year on record nationwide, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. An average of 36.20 inches of precipitation fell nationwide, which was 6.25 inches above the...
  17. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Advanced meal planning one way to benefit from Community Supported Agriculture

    I joined a CSA this spring for the first time, and now I’m getting so many vegetables in my weekly shares that I don’t know what to do with them all. Some of the produce spoils before I get around to using it. How can I better manage this bounty of fresh foods? It’s great that you’ve joined a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs are a wonderful way to access fresh, locally grown produce and other foods.  While every CSA has some slight differences in how it operates, all work by allowing consumers to purchase a share—some call it a subscription—to a farm in return for weekly deliveries of farm-fresh, local produce, goods, and foods. Farmers benefit because they are able to derive income from the shares, which are often used for...
  18. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Help for family members dealing with diabetes

    My dad was diagnosed with diabetes last year, but it seems he hasn’t really embraced what that means. For example, he hasn’t made any changes to his eating habits at all. How can I help him better understand his diagnosis and make healthier food choices? While it might seem that your dad hasn’t accepted his new reality of living with diabetes, it might just be that he doesn’t know where or how to start in terms of making changes to accommodate his new health situation. Changing and maintaining a new behavior can be difficult, especially when you’ve received a new diagnosis of diabetes that might require you to change several behaviors all at once, according to Communication Strategies to Support a Family Member with Diabetes, a new Ohioline fact...
  19. Flooded farm fields in southern Ohio. Photo: Sherrie Whaley.

    News tips and events for the week of July 15

    Tip 1: CFAES help for growers and producers: Experts at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) know that this year has been particularly challenging for Ohio growers and producers due to the historic rainfall in Ohio this growing season. As such, CFAES has convened a task force to address concerns and offer the best science-based recommendations for and solutions to the issues growers are facing regarding weather impacts, tariffs, and low commodity prices.  Here are just a few of the resources that CFAES experts are working hard to offer farmers statewide. FAQs about the 2019 agricultural challenges can be found at go.osu.edu/AgCrisis. Recommendations and information for farmers of grain and feed can be found...
  20. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: No such thing as male and female bell peppers

    I saw a link on Facebook saying that male bell peppers have three bumps on the bottom and are better for cooking, while female bell peppers have four bumps and are sweeter and better for eating raw. Is that true? No.  Although the myth that bell peppers are either male or female continues to spread, bell peppers do not have genders.  According to the myth, “male” bell peppers have three lobes and are more bitter, while “female” bell peppers have four or more lobes, have more seeds, and are sweeter to eat.  However, bell peppers grow from flowers that have both male and female parts. The peppers, which are the fruits of a pepper plant, each contain ovaries that produce the seeds inside the peppers. Each pepper is produced through self-...
  21. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Barbecue safely this Fourth of July

    I’m ready to use my grill for the first time this summer for a July Fourth cookout. Is it OK to use a steel wire grill brush to clean the grease and grime that’s built up since the last time I used it?   Your question is similar to another that was asked in a “Chow Line” column from July 2018, so it’s best answered by reissuing that column here. When using a wire grill brush, it’s important to take note of how old your grill brush is and what condition it’s in. If your grill brush is worn down, warped, or has some missing bristles, you might want to consider throwing it out. This is because you’ll want to be careful that you don’t inadvertently leave behind any wire bristles from the grill-cleaning brush that could...
  22. Discolored leaves such as this, suggest fungal disease in this tomato plant. The leaves need pruned with sterilized pruners and then discarded into the garbage and not the compost pile. Photo curtesy of Timothy McDermott.

    Chow Line: Excess rainfall impacting tomato plants

    I’ve grown tomato plants in my central Ohio backyard for the past couple of years, as part of my efforts to make healthier food choices for my family. But this year, the leaves on the tomato plants are discolored and dying. What’s going on with the plants, and can my tomatoes be saved? It’s wonderful that you are making healthy food choices for your family. Tomatoes are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K, and potassium and folate. The tomato is also a wonderful source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to several important health benefits such as reducing your risk of heart disease and some types of cancer, as well as helping you maintain a healthy blood pressure. Without having seen your specific tomato plants, I can offer some suggestions...
  23. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Food safety after a power outage or flood

    I went grocery shopping last week, and the next day, our power went out for several hours due to severe storms. Is there any food that can be saved, or do I have to throw everything out of our fridge due to spoilage? It’s that time of year when severe weather can leave consumers without power for a few minutes to multiple days, in some instances. Rounds of severe weather have already impacted many consumers nationwide this spring, with thousands experiencing widespread power outages and flooding issues in Ohio and throughout the country.  It’s incredibly frustrating to think you have to discard groceries that you’ve just purchased due to a power outage. Understanding the basics of food safety and how perishable foods are impacted when the temperature is 40...
  24. Flooded farmland in southern Ohio. Photo by Sherrie Whaley.

    Media advisory: Ohio State experts available to discuss ongoing rain and its impact on Ohio farmers

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Agronomic and agricultural economic experts at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) are available to discuss the impact the historic rainfall has had on Ohio farmers and to offer some options for farmers going forward. On June 14, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue a disaster designation for Ohio to make assistance available to farmers as they deal with continuing heavy rainfall. Record rainfall through the spring planting season has resulted in flooded and saturated fields that have prevented some Ohio farmers from planting their crops. As of June 17, only 68% of Ohio’s corn crop and 46% of Ohio’s soybean crop had been planted, according to...
  25. Photo: Getty Images

    News tips and events for the week of June 17

    Tip 1: Ohio State experts available to discuss ongoing weather issues and the impact on Ohio farmers: On June 14, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issue a disaster designation for Ohio to make assistance available to farmers as they deal with continuing heavy rainfall. Record rainfall through the spring planting season has resulted in flooded and saturated fields that have prevented some Ohio farmers from planting crops. As of June 17, only 68% of Ohio’s corn crops and 46% of Ohio’s soybean crops had been planted, according to USDA Crop Progress reports. Agronomy experts at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) are available to discuss the impact the rain has had on farmers...

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