Tracy Turner

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

    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...
  2. 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...
  3. 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...
  4. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  5. 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...
  6. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  7. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  8. Photo: Thinkstock

    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...
  9. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  10. 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...
  11. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  12. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  13. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  14. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  15. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  16. Photo: Getty Images

    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)....
  17. Photo: Getty Images

    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...
  18. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Less Screen Time During Meals Can Help Promote Healthier Eating in Children

    My kids love to watch TV or view their cellphones or tablets while they eat. I used to eat cereal on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons when I was a kid, but my children prefer to watch a screen at every meal, every day. Is this something I should be worried about? Research has shown that children who have family mealtimes at least three or more times a week are more likely to be of normal weight and have healthier eating habits. And children who have family meals are more likely to feel better about themselves, experience less depression, are less likely to use illegal drugs and tend to get better grades at school. And while 63 percent of consumers believe that eating at home with their families is important, only 30 percent actually share dinner every night, according to a...
  19. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: How to Carve Pumpkins Safely

    Since I’m not crafty in the least bit, I don’t know the best way to carve a pumpkin. Can you help? Carving a pumpkin can be a fun, festive, fall family event — as long as you know what you’re doing. Even though pumpkins are a beautiful, tasty vegetable (or fruit, depending on who you ask), carving them can result in injuries if you aren’t careful. One thing to keep in mind is choosing the right pumpkin to carve. There are several kinds of pumpkins — some that you eat, and some that are typically used for carving, said Jenny Lobb, a Family and Consumer Sciences educator for Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES)....
  20. A close-up look at adult bed bugs, their eggs and fecal spotting. Photo: CFAES

    New Ohio State App Helps Users Identify, Prevent and Control Bed Bugs

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Not sure if the dark speck that crawled across your desk at work was a bed bug? Wondering if the tiny insect you saw on the seat next to you at the movie theater or on the bus was a bed bug? How about that fleck you thought you saw on the corner of the mattress the last time you stayed in a hotel? A researcher at The Ohio State University has created a free new app to help you figure it out. Created by Susan Jones, a professor of entomology with Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the Bed Bug Field Guide app comes complete with photos, descriptions and enough information for consumers to know, definitively, what bed bugs look like, where to find them, how to get rid of them and, most importantly, how to...
  21. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Newly Updated Foodkeeper App Helps Reduce Food Waste

    How do I know when an item of food is spoiled? That really depends on the food item in question. Food spoilage refers to a decrease in quality beyond what is acceptable to consumers, said Abby Snyder, an assistant professor and food safety field specialist in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES). Signs of food spoilage can include a change in color or texture. The food may also emit a foul odor or develop an unpleasant taste, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.                                                       ...
  22. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Some Synthetic Food Flavoring Additives Banned

    What are synthetic food flavoring additives and why have some of them banned from use? The Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it was banning the use of seven commonly used synthetic food-flavoring additives that have been linked to the development of cancer in laboratory studies of animals. The flavorings, many of which are used in many brands of chewing gum, candy, breakfast cereals, beer, packaged ice cream and some baked goods, were removed from the FDA’s approved usage list based on the findings of several studies. Those findings were used as the basis of petitions asking the government to stop allowing the synthetic food flavoring additives to be used in food, the government agency said. The petitions were generated from several groups including the...
  23. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow line: Food Safety Techniques Important for Dogs, too

    Is raw pet food ok to serve to my dog? While many pet owners may prefer to feed their furry family members raw pet food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that’s not such a good idea. This is because pathogens like salmonella and listeria have been found in some raw pet foods, even in some of those brands that are sold pre-packaged in stores, CDC says. Since these germs can make your pet sick, it’s best not to feed them to your dog. Studies from the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration have found that there are more harmful germs in raw pet food than any other type of pet food. And, if you handle these raw pet foods and don’t wash your hands afterwards, they can make you and your family sick as well. Such was the case in February...
  24. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Internal Temperature of 165 F Needed for Chicken to Prevent Foodborne Illness

    Does chicken have to be cooked to one uniform temperature, or can it be eaten like steak — rare, medium rare, medium or well done? Great question, considering that American consumers eat more chicken than any other meat, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, unlike steak, all chicken dishes should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly enough to kill any pathogens that could cause a foodborne illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s best to use a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it is cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Raw chicken can be contaminated with the bacterial pathogens...
  25. Photo: Getty Images

    Chow Line: Fridge Organization Key to Lessening Foodborne Illness Risk

    I’ve always stored fresh eggs in the little “egg caddy” tray in the door of my refrigerator. But my husband says we should put the eggs in the actual fridge itself. Who’s right, him or me? In this case, your hubby wins the point. Because eggs are a perishable food, they should be stored in the main compartment of the fridge because the temperature is more stable there, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In fact, other perishable items such as raw meat and other dairy products should be stored in the main part of the fridge as well, USDA says. That’s because when a refrigerator is opened, food stored on the inside of the door is most exposed to the warmer temperatures in the kitchen. Keeping a clean and organized fridge is key to...

Pages