Tracy Turner

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

    News tips and events for the week of April 19

    Tip 1: Getting ready for the growing season: Farmers and producers in Ohio can expect to see a wet April followed by a warmer and not as wet May that includes the possibility of normal or even a bit below normal rainfall. Early indications for the summer growing season include normal or slightly above normal temperatures and possibly a bit wetter weather than normal; however, June could be a bit drier. That’s according to Jim Noel, with the National Weather Service. Noel’s weather updates are featured in the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network’s C.O.R.N Newsletter, which is offered by agronomists and educators with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). Tip 2: Lake Erie Watersnake...
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    Chow Line: Springtime in Ohio is a good time for strawberries, asparagus, other in-season produce

    Which fruits and vegetables are in season in the spring? 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 than fruits and vegetables that...
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    Chow line: When to throw out moldy food

    When is it ok to consume food that mold has grown on, and when should one throw the food away? That depends, in part, on the type of food. First, it’s important to understand what mold is.  Mold and yeast are generally considered spoilage organisms, as they cause undesirable changes to the appearance, texture, smell, and taste of the product, explains Abigail Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist for The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). However, some instances of mold growth on food introduces food safety concerns, Snyder wrote in Mold Has Grown on Your Food: What Should You Do, a recent Ohioline fact sheet. Ohioline is Ohio State University Extension’s free online...
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    Chow Line: New tool offers chefs guidance on food safety

    As a food blogger, I’ve written my own recipes before, but I’m wondering how I can incorporate the most updated food safety information into those recipes. Do you have any advice for me? A new online tool that was launched this month will allow people who develop and write recipes to incorporate step-by-step food safety information into those recipes.  The Safe Recipe Style Guide was developed by food safety experts and food journalists as part of an effort to help educate consumers on safe food-handling practices. The free online tool, which is offered by the Partnership for Food Safety Education, a Virginia-based nonprofit food safety organization, provides recipe writers information about how to incorporate food tips into most recipes. The...
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    News tips and events for the week of March 25

    Tip 1: “Zombie” deer meat? A recent Chow Line column answers a question on chronic wasting disease, which has also been called “zombie deer disease.” This disease rots the brains of deer, elk, and moose, causing them to act lethargic and less afraid of humans before dying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As such, the CDC advises people to take certain precautions when dealing with deer or elk and the meat from those animals in areas where chronic wasting disease is confirmed within the wild herd. While Ohio’s current status designation is “chronic wasting disease-free in the wild,” there have been some reported cases in three surrounding states: Michigan, West Virginia, and...
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    Chow Line: Considering a gluten-free diet?

    I am thinking about removing gluten from my diet. Is there anything that I need to consider before making that decision? Yes. An important thing to consider before going gluten free is the question of why you want to make that change. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. It also appears in many processed foods. There is often a medical reason—such as wheat allergy, celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity—why a person must follow a gluten-free diet, said Shannon Carter, educator, family and consumer sciences, Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. However, some people have adopted a gluten-free diet because they...
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    Chow Line: CDC: Avoid “zombie” deer meat

    I keep hearing about “zombie deer.” What is that? What you are talking about is chronic wasting disease, a disease that has been featured in numerous national media outlets and news stories in recent weeks. Chronic wasting disease, which has also been called “zombie deer disease,” rots the brains of deer, elk, and moose, causing them to act lethargic and less afraid of humans before dying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While Ohio’s current status designation is “chronic wasting disease-free in the wild,” there have been some reported cases in three surrounding states: Michigan, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the CDC said. The disease has been detected in 24 states thus far, the CDC said. “Chronic...
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    Chow line: Modeling healthy eating is beneficial to children

    My little boy is at the age where he has decided he does not like to eat vegetables. As a parent, how can I instill better eating habits in my child? While it’s normal for young children to be picky eaters, there are ways that you can help them develop healthier eating habits. One easy way is through modeling healthy eating habits yourself. One of the most common ways that children learn new things is by watching and imitating parents’ actions. In fact, research has shown that parents’ eating choices can have a major influence on their children, said Ingrid Adams, state specialist in food, health, and human behavior for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio...
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    Chow Line: Understanding symptoms of food poisoning

    How do I know if I have food poisoning? 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The time it takes for symptoms of a foodborne illness to...
  10. Raw turkey. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Some raw turkey products linked to ongoing salmonella outbreak

    I just heard that some raw turkey products have been linked to a salmonella outbreak. How can I protect myself from developing a salmonella infection from raw turkey? Whenever you are handling raw turkey, it’s always important to handle it carefully and to cook it thoroughly to prevent developing a foodborne illness. This is because raw poultry can be can be contaminated with bacterial pathogens such as salmonella, campylobacter, and clostridium perfringens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, if you eat undercooked poultry or other foods or beverages contaminated by raw poultry or its juices, you could get a foodborne illness. The turkey outbreak that you are likely referring to is the ongoing salmonella outbreak that began just before...
  11. Several raised beds in an industrial parking lot as part of the Urban Renewal Farm in Dayton, Ohio. OSU Extension provided funding for the soil and the materials to create the raised beds. Photo: Jim Jasinski, OSU Extension.

    Urban agriculture in Ohio

    Ohio State University Extension is working in partnership with urban growers statewide to increase the production of local foods and to create economic opportunities for urban communities in Ohio. In the heart of the oldest neighborhood in Columbus sits a 2.5-acre farm that resulted in $50,000 worth of produce in 2017. The farm is spread across 12 sites throughout the city’s urban landscape. Franklinton Farms—named after the neighborhood in which it sits—is a network of urban farming plots where traditional farming techniques and high and low tunnels are used to produce enough vegetables, fruits, and herbs to supply a 40-member community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. In 2019, the CSA plans to expand to 75 members, said Nick Stanich, executive director of...
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    Chow Line: Dietary supplements to gain increased federal scrutiny

    I’ve been thinking about adding a dietary supplement as part of my daily routine. But I’m not sure how or if dietary supplements are regulated. Unlike over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements are regulated more like food products than like drugs. Supplements, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, will now be subject to “new enforcement strategies,” including a new rapid-response tool that can alert consumers to unsafe products, the FDA said in a written statement this week. The move is “one of the most significant modernizations of dietary supplement regulation and oversight in more than 25 years,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. “FDA’s priorities for dietary supplements are to ensure that they...
  13. A comparison of the old and new food nutrition labels. Photo: U. S. Food and Drug Administration.

    Chow Line: Understanding the new food nutrition labels

    What are some of the changes I can expect to see on the new food nutrition labels? One of the biggest changes is a larger, bolder typeface for both calories and serving sizes. The typeface will be easier for people to see and read. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the updated food nutrition label design. According to the FDA, the new design was part of an effort to reflect updated scientific findings to help consumers make better-informed decisions about food choices and maintaining healthy diets. While the new labels are already on about 10 percent of food packages currently being sold, the FDA is requiring food manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales to have the labels on all of their products by next year. Manufacturers with less...
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    Chow Line: Protecting yourself from hepatitis A

    I just heard about a recent health warning advising people who had visited a central Ohio restaurant last month to get a hepatitis A vaccine. What is hepatitis A, and why would people who were at the restaurant need a vaccine? Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that infects a person’s liver. It can be spread through close contact with a person who has hepatitis A or by eating food prepared by a person with hepatitis A. The recent warning concerns consumers who patronized Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, 479 N. High St. in Columbus, Ohio, from Jan. 1–16 of this year. Columbus Public Health issued the warning after a person who had direct contact with food at the restaurant was diagnosed with hepatitis A. According to Columbus Public Health, consumers who ate at the...
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    Chow Line: Prep and freeze food for later use in oven, slow cooker

    When I get home from work some nights, I am exhausted and simply don’t feel like cooking. Any tips on what I can do to still eat healthy those nights without having to go out to eat or spend a lot of time making a meal? On a nonworkday, you could make several meals in advance and then store them in your freezer to defrost at a later date. On a day when you don’t have the time or energy to make a full meal, you’ll have access to quick, easy, nutritious, homemade meal options. Freezing meals in advance can be helpful anytime you need a ready-to-go meal or when you take a meal to someone in need, said Shannon Carter, an Ohio State University Extension educator with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “Freezer...
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    News tips and events for the week of Jan. 22

    Tip 1: e-Fields Report: On the farm, data can be crucial in helping make the right decisions. The recently released e-Fields 2018 Report offers data about tests done on 95 farms in 25 Ohio counties. The topics researched in the report include nutrient management, seeding, crop management, soil compaction management, remote sensing, and data analysis and management. Each study includes information about weather, soil types, and management practice. Elizabeth Hawkins, an Ohio State University agronomist based in Clinton County, can address media questions about the report. She can be reached at hawkins.301@osu.edu or 937-382-0901. January 2019 events 24 Grafting Workshop, 8 a.m. to noon, Jack and Deb Miller Pavilion, Secrest Arboretum, OARDC, CFAES Wooster Campus, 1680 Madison...
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    Chow Line: Meal kits and other food delivery services should include a focus on food safety

    I’m using a meal kit delivery service for the first time. What do I need to be aware of when ordering, and when the food arrives? Meal kit delivery and food preparation services have grown in popularity in recent years, with revenue in that sector expected to grow to over $10 billion in 2020, up from $1 billion in 2015, according to Statista, Inc., a New York-based market and consumer data firm. Ease and convenience are some of the factors for that increase, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, it’s important that safe food handling methods are used when receiving food through a mail delivery service, especially when receiving perishable foods, food safety experts say. Whether it be a subscription meal kit, mail-ordered food, or groceries delivered...
  18. Milk and eggs are among the most common foods identified as allergens among U.S. adults. Photo: Getty Images.

    Chow Line: Some food allergies really aren’t food allergies

    My husband has always assumed he is allergic to strawberries, but it turns out that he’s not allergic at all. He just has an intolerance to them. How common is that? Very, it seems. According to a new study published this week in the journal JAMA Network Open, nearly half of the people who think they have food allergies, really don’t. Instead, many people may suffer from food intolerance or celiac disease, which they may believe to be an allergic reaction to certain foods. The study, which was done at Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University, was based on a nationally representative survey of over 40,443 adults. According to the study results, 19 percent of adults think they are currently food allergic, although their reported symptoms are...
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    Chow Line: Nontoxic Food Decorations Aren’t Always Edible

    I’m making a batch of holiday goodies, and I’m using several kinds of festive decor on the cakes, cookies, and pies. Some of this glitter and sparkly stuff is very pretty, but I’m wondering if it’s really safe to eat. That depends on what the label on its packaging says. When baking fancy cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or other foods for the holidays—or for any occasion—it’s important that you are aware of which decorations are edible and which ones aren’t. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer alert this week that some glitters and dusts promoted for use in foods might, in fact, contain materials that should not be eaten. In fact, the FDA says consumers might want to avoid using glitter and dust to decorate cakes...
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    Chow Line: With Holiday Baking Season in Full Swing, a Reminder from CDC to Just Say No to Eating Raw Dough

    My grandkids and I have a tradition of spending a Saturday afternoon this time of year baking pies, cakes, and cookies for the holidays. I’ve always let my grandkids lick the spoon from the raw cake batter and raw cookie dough, but now my son is telling me it’s not safe to do so. Why is that? While many people (including me!) might love the taste of raw cookie dough or raw cake or brownie batter, eating it can make you sick. That’s because the raw eggs and uncooked flour that go into many recipes can contain bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, which can result in a bad case of foodborne illness. Most people know that raw or undercooked eggs can cause salmonella poisoning, which can result in fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea, but fewer people are aware...
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    News Tips and Events for the Week of Dec. 10

    Tip 1: Using Technology to Improve Crop Decisions During the Growing Season: Knowing when to spray a pesticide, what type and how much can be challenging. If you don’t spray enough, you don’t fix the problem. Spray too much or the wrong pesticide and you may have wasted time and money. Apps, drones, satellite imagery and other technology can assist farmers in making those and other decisions about their growing crops. The speakers at Precision University, an annual conference sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University can show how. At the Jan. 9 event, the speakers will include Anne Dorrance, a CFAES professor of plant pathology, who will discuss soybeans fungicides, and Jim DeGrand, Ohio’s assistant...
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    Chow Line: Picky Eating a Normal Part of Early Childhood

    My 4-year-old REFUSES to eat anything that is the color red — no red apples, tomatoes, red peppers or even pepperoni on her pizza. She didn’t used to care what color her food was, but within the past couple weeks, she’s taken a disdain for red foods. Is this normal? As frustrating as that may be for you when planning family meals and deciding what to feed your little one, picky eating habits are considered a normal part of a child’s development, according to health professionals. In fact, up to half of preschoolers have exhibited picky eating habits, from wanting their foods prepared only a certain way, to not wanting to try new foods, and to, yes, refusing to eat foods based on color, research has found. This could be in part because as a child...
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    Chow Line: Update on Romaine Lettuce Safety Alert

    I’m confused about the romaine lettuce alert. Is it safe to eat romaine now? Well, that depends on where the romaine lettuce was grown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that consumers may now safely consume romaine lettuce as long as they are sure that the lettuce they eat was not grown or harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. However, the CDC still warns consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce if they don’t know where it came from. “It may still take some time before romaine lettuce with regional labels indicating harvest locations in Florida or Arizona to become available,” said Abigail Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist in the College of Food...
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    Chow Line: Holiday Indulgence in Moderation?

    Do you have any tips on how I can indulge in all the holiday food festivities without overdoing it? You aren’t the only one wondering about this issue. With the holidays approaching, many people are concerned about trying to stay healthy while also enjoying all the delicious foods and traditions associated with the many celebrations that are or will be soon occurring. Many people are looking for ways to either avoid temptation or make better choices that will allow them to maintain a healthy weight while they navigate all the indulgence of the season, said Jenny Lobb, 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 Sciences (CFAES)....
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    Chow Line: A Year or Two is not Too Long to Use Uncooked Frozen Turkey

    I bought two turkeys last November, with the intent to cook one at Thanksgiving and the second one for New Year’s Day. We ended up going to a friend’s house on New Year’s instead, so now I still have the frozen turkey from last year in my freezer. Is it safe to cook it for our Thanksgiving meal this year? Great question! Yes, you can still safely cook that turkey as long as it has been stored in the freezer unopened and uninterrupted and stored at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. That’s because freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage, USDA says. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents...

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