Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. Chow Line: Deep yellow field spot on watermelon key to choosing sweet, ripe melon

    What’s the best way to choose the perfect melon? Whether it’s watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, or other melons, summer days (or any day!) are a wonderful time to indulge in these delicious, nutritious fruits. Not only do these fruits taste wonderful, but they are also healthy, low-calorie treats that are packed with vitamins. For example, a cup of cantaloupe has 60 calories and is rich in vitamins A and C, while a cup of honeydew has 64 calories and is rich in vitamin C and potassium and provides B vitamins. A cup of watermelon has about 45 calories and has significant amounts of vitamins A and C. Watermelon is also 93% water, and the red variety is a good source of lycopene, a phytonutrient that gives watermelon its color. Lycopene appears to protect the body...
  2. Cathann A. Kress, dean of CFAES and vice president of agricultural administration at Ohio State. (Photo by Ken Chamberlain)

    CFAES dean appointed to Council for Agricultural Science and Technology board of trustees

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), has been appointed to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) board of trustees. Kress will begin her three-year renewable term on the CAST board on Aug. 1. “I look forward to serving in this role and advancing the understanding of the science and technology that are critical to our modern food and agricultural industries,” said Kress. Established in 1972 as a result of a 1970 meeting sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, CAST is based in Iowa and is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies,...
  3. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Healthy red food options for Juneteenth

    We’re having a cookout as part of our Juneteenth celebration. Do you have any ideas about what foods to serve? First, it’s important to understand what Juneteenth is. Juneteenth is a holiday that began in Texas, signifying the date of June 19, 1865, when Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger told the slaves in Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War was over and that slavery had been abolished—two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves. The freed slaves began celebrating when they realized they were free, and thus the celebration became an annual tradition. As a result, the celebration of June 19 was coined “Juneteenth” and later became an official holiday in Texas in 1980. Yesterday, Juneteenth...
  4. Lone Star tick. Photo: Getty Images.

    Chow Line: Tick season could result in red meat allergies for some

    Can some ticks cause you to be allergic to meat? In some cases, yes. Spring marks the beginning of tick season and this year, the tick population is expected to surge.  With it comes the potential for tick bites, which could result in several complications, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and in some cases, cause some people to develop an allergy to red meat after being bitten. As mentioned in a previous Chow Line, lone star ticks in certain cases, 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...
  5. Fried Cicadas on as skewer. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Cicadas can be a tasty treat, but they can be hazardous to those allergic to seafood, FDA warns

    I’ve heard that cicadas can be eaten. Is that true? Yes, it is true. Cicadas are among those insects that are safe to eat. And if you are among those who want to give them a try, this is the summer to do it. The periodical cicada known as Brood X will arrive in the millions in the Midwest over the next few weeks as the temperatures warm. Brood X is one of 12 periodical cicadas that emerge every 17 years, from mid-May to late June. Another three broods emerge every 13 years, primarily in southern states. Brood X includes three species–Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula–each of which will come up at different times during the spring, says David Shetlar, a professor emeritus of entomology with...
  6. Photo: Getty Images

    Ohio State expert: Lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic likely to stem potential meat supply shortage

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Consumer alert: There’s no need to panic and no need to stock up on meat as of now. Despite this week’s cyberattack on JBS USA—one of the largest meat producers nationwide—beef and pork supplies could possibly avoid being in short supply at grocery stores, and consumers should not panic just yet, says Lyda Garcia, an assistant professor of meat science and an Ohio State University Extension meat specialist. OSU Extension is the statewide research arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).  JBS is one of four large-scale meat producers, accounting for an estimated 20% of beef production in the United States. The Brazilian-based company suffered a cyberattack last weekend, prompting it...
  7. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Not sure what to do with fresh, harvested radishes? Pickle them

    I’ve got a fresh harvest of spring radishes in my garden, but other than adding them to my salad, I’m not sure what to do with them. Got any ideas? First, congratulations on your harvest! Radishes are an easy-to-grow vegetable because they can be planted directly from seed in the early spring and are typically among the first plants ready to harvest. Additionally, radishes are low in calories and are a source of potassium; calcium; sodium; and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Radishes are a cruciferous vegetable in the same plant family as kale, turnips, and broccoli. They can also help lower blood pressure and can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, research shows.  Radishes have a peppery flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture. Several varieties exist,...
  8. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Spring a good time for asparagus, strawberries and other fresh produce

    Which fruits and vegetables are in season now? As mentioned in a previous Chow Line, rain and bright sunny days make spring a good time to indulge in a wide range of plentiful produce such as asparagus, cabbage, kale, spinach, and strawberries. Not only are these items extremely fresh and flavorful because they’re currently in season, but they’re also widely discounted because of the abundance of supply based on this time of year. Because fruits and vegetables grow in cycles and ripen during certain seasons, produce typically is fresher and tastes best when ripe. And while most fruits and vegetables are available to consumers year-round thanks to agricultural innovations, seasonal fruits and vegetables are typically cheaper to buy because they are easier to produce...
  9. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Spinach, the tasty and healthy food

    My kids refuse to eat spinach. How can I prepare it in a way that might appeal to a finicky eater? First, it’s important to note that spinach is a healthy, dark, leafy, green vegetable that is full of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, folate, fiber, phosphorus, thiamine, and vitamins A, C, and K.  Also considered a superfood, spinach, as part of a healthy, balanced diet, is important for skin, hair, and bone health. Additionally, spinach can help improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes, and it lowers the risk of cancer, improves bone health, and can promote digestive regularity. There are three types of spinach, including savoy spinach, flat spinach, and semi-savoy spinach, all of which can be eaten cooked or raw. And it’s fairly easy...
  10. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Fridge organization can lessen food waste

    I buy fresh fruits and vegetables every time I go to the grocery store, but it seems like much of the produce ends in the wastebin, because I don’t get around to eating it or forget that it’s in the fridge. Do you have any tips on how I can avoid this? You aren’t alone. Americans nationwide throw away about 80 billion pounds of food in a typical year, researchers have found.  For example, approximately 30% of the food produced in the United States is wasted each year, and a significant portion of that occurs at the consumer level. Food waste accounts for 15% of all solid waste in the United States and contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. And a new report released in March by the UN Environment Programme found that of all the food...
  11. CFAES graduate research associate Jerish Joyner Janahar is studying the impact of ultra-shear technology treatment on viscosity of different beverages. Photo: CFAES.

    Ohio State forms food industry consortium to advance commercialization of ultra-shear technology for liquid foods and beverages processing

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Researchers at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) have created a university-industry consortium to further the development of and provide access to the licensing of a new, innovative manufacturing technology that preserves foods and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients; no artificial preservatives; and reduced heat.  Called ultra-shear technology (UST), this new method of high-pressure-based shear technology will allow beverage companies to manufacture healthier beverages by reducing thermal exposure through the combined application of elevated pressure, shear, and controlled times and temperatures.   The result? “Healthier beverage options that health-conscious...
  12. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: COVID-19 quarantine weight gain

    Both my wife and I have packed on several pounds since the beginning of quarantine. Do you have any tips on how to help us change out of our quarantine diet and habits to get these pounds off? First, you need to know that you and your wife aren’t the only ones who have gained weight in the past year related to the COVID-19 quarantine. In fact, many consumers have found themselves turning to unhealthy habits to cope with stress related to the pandemic.  For example, health professionals have found that many people nationwide have gained weight during quarantine. A study published March 22 in the journal JAMA Network Open found that participants gained an average of 1.5 pounds per month during quarantine. The study suggests that as people stayed home parked in...
  13. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Sweet potato fries are a healthy, delicious option

    I’ve got a huge sack of sweet potatoes, but besides baking, how else can I prepare them? First, it’s important to note that sweet potatoes are healthy vegetables that are full of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C. 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...
  14. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Cooking corned beef safely

    In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, I’m making corned beef. It’s my first time making it–do you have any tips on how to do so safely?  Corned beef, just like any other raw meat or poultry item, should be handled with care to lessen the potential for foodborne illnesses. That starts the moment you purchase the meat in the grocery store or butcher shop and bring it home. Uncooked whole corned beef is typically sold wrapped in packaging that still contains the salt brine with spices used to cure or pickle the beef. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package of the meat and store it unopened in the refrigerator for no more than 5 to 7 days from that date. If you purchase corned beef with a use-by date, make sure to cook it by that date, advises...
  15. Chow Line: Raw or cooked vegetables?

    Is it healthier to eat vegetables raw or cooked? Well, that depends on which vegetables you are talking about. While most vegetables are better eaten raw, there are a few you could cook instead to gain more health benefits, said Beth Stefura, a family and consumer sciences educator with Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “Cooking some vegetables releases nutrients that your body can more easily absorb,” she writes in Vegetables That Are Healthier Cooked, a blog post at the Live Healthy Live Well website.  The site, which can be found at livehealthyosu.com, is a free information resource that offers science-based consumer...
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    Chow Line: Is it food poisoning?

    I had stomach cramps not long after eating food I typically don’t eat. How do I know if I had food poisoning or if it was something else? The symptoms of food poisoning vary depending on the type of germ to which you’ve been exposed, but there are some common signs that can indicate whether you’ve been exposed to a foodborne illness. The most common signs include stomach cramps, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Some bacteria, such as Listeria can cause flu-like symptoms. It’s important to note that symptoms of food poisoning can range from mild to serious and that some of them can come on as quickly as 30 minutes after you eat or as long as four weeks after you’ve eaten something that contains a foodborne pathogen, according the...
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    Chow Line: Nonperishable foods to stock up on in advance of a snowstorm

    Due to this week’s snowstorm, I wasn’t able to get to the grocery store for a couple of days and we really weren’t prepared at all. What are some foods I should have on hand if I think I’ll be snowbound again for a few days? Generally speaking, bread and milk are typically the first items that many people stock up on when a winter weather emergency is forecast. While there are several theories as to why many people hoard bread and milk in anticipation of winter storms, the meteorologists at AccuWeather.com attribute the trend to the record-breaking Blizzard of 1978, when New Englanders were trapped in their homes for several weeks and the items that were most purchased prior to the storm were, you guessed it, bread and milk. However, if you...
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    Chow Line: Yes, dark chocolate can be a healthy choice for Valentine’s Day

    Can I celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolate in a healthy way?  If you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with sweet treats while keeping your health in mind, consider having some chocolate. However, make sure you choose a dark chocolate, with which you can both enjoy and gain some heart-healthy advantages. In moderation, dark chocolate is believed to provide multiple health benefits. This is because of its high levels of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can alter and weaken cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Research has found that flavanols, which are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate, have potential influences on vascular...
  19. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: New dietary guidelines offer some changed recommendations

    I just saw that the new federal dietary guidelines were released. Were there any changes made from the dietary guidelines that were released in previous years? Yes, there were several changes in the new 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines are published jointly every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The latest version, released Dec. 29, 2020, provides science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce the risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs. According to those two agencies, the focus of this year’s guidelines is to “make every bite count” by encouraging consumers to focus on choosing healthy foods and beverages that are...
  20. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Saving money on meals using slow cookers

    One of my resolutions this year is to eat healthier but save time and money on food. Got any ideas? One easy, budget-friendly way to save money, time, and energy on food at home is to prepare a hearty meal using a slow cooker. Not only are slow cookers convenient, but they can also help families save money by making less expensive, tougher cuts of meat—such as shoulder, round, and chuck steak—more tender and shrink less. That’s a significant consideration for many, considering that food prices are forecast to increase this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.  Their research found that food purchased at grocery stores is projected to increase an additional 1% to 2%, and food-away-from-home is projected to...
  21. Nearly 80,000 pounds of produce grown for food pantries statewide

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—Master Gardener Volunteers from across Ohio grew nearly 80,000 pounds of produce in 2020 statewide and donated it all to 101 food pantries in cities and towns across the state. The Master Gardener Volunteer program is a U.S.- and Canada-wide effort that in Ohio is run by Ohio State University Extension, which is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The produce grown included fruits, vegetables, and herbs and was equivalent to 65,200 meals, according to Pam Bennett, state master gardener volunteer program director and horticulture educator with OSU Extension. Although Master Gardener Volunteers have grown and donated food through this program for 20 years, growers ramped up their...
  22. Ohio State researchers are taking black raspberries and making highly controlled foods, such as a nectar, and studying them in the laboratory and in humans for anticancer activity. Photo: Getty Images.

    Co-op gift funds food-based cancer research

    COLUMBUS, Ohio—A $190,000 gift to the Cooperatives for the Cure Cancer Fund boosts food-based cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), and Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The fund was created with the hope of finding a common goal for agricultural cooperatives to work together on bettering their communities through the support of cancer research. This year’s donation brings the total donated since 2009, when the effort began, to $1.5 million. Supporting the fund are two campaigns, Growing the Cure and Fueling the Cure, toward which the cooperatives donate money from soybean and corn...
  23. Photo: Getty Images

    Holiday baking? The CDC says don’t eat the raw dough

    Is it safe to lick the bowl when making cakes or cookies? No, it’s not. While it’s that time of year when holiday cookies reign supreme, it’s also a good time of year to warn folks against eating foods with raw eggs for fear of contracting salmonella or other foodborne illnesses. Raw flour is also not safe to eat, because it too can cause a mean case of foodborne illness, said Shari Gallup, family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Although many people might love the taste of raw cookie dough or raw cake or brownie batter, eating it can make you sick. Raw or undercooked eggs can cause salmonella...
  24. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Healthy ways to improve immunity

    As we go into the winter months and illness chances increase, what can I do to boost my immune system? Your question is on the minds of many consumers, as more people have been reaching for vitamin supplements and seeking out healthy foods to improve their immune system amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 77% of consumers say they want to eat healthier to boost their immunity during the pandemic, according to a study by Archer Daniels Midland, a Chicago-based, food-processing company. Building and maintaining a healthy immune system starts with focusing on good nutrition, said Beth Stefura, a family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental...
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    Chow Line: Holidays and diabetes management

    My husband has diabetes and we’re not sure what that means for him with all the holiday meals and celebrations we’re anticipating this month. Do you have any tips on how he can manage his diabetes through the holidays? With some 34.2 million Americans who have diabetes and some 88 million who have prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, having an understanding of how to manage the disease is key to healthy living for millions of people nationwide. And the holidays can present additional challenges for those who live with diabetes, particularly as people look for ways to either avoid temptation or make better choices while they navigate all the indulgences of the season, said Jenny Lobb, a family and consumer sciences educator for Ohio...

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