Tracy Turner

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

    News Tips and Events for the Week of Sept. 17

    Tip 1: This year’s Ohio State University Farm Science Review celebrates its 56th year and includes several newsworthy events, exhibits and presentations. The three-day agricultural trade show will be Sept. 18-20 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. The show is sponsored by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). The Review runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $7 in advance, $10 at the gate. More information: fsr.osu.edu. Among the numerous educational talks that will be presented at the Review: With the many tariffs now on U.S. agricultural exports and a federal farm bill under negotiation, this year’s Tobin Talk will address Ohio Agriculture and the Current Policy Environment...
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    Chow Line: Pizza Injuries in 2017?

    I heard a report on the radio this morning that said pizza injuries have caused some people to go to the hospital. What is that all about? You may be referring to a Sept. 5 tweet by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that reported on the number of trips to hospital emergency rooms that consumers across the country have said were associated with … pizza. Yep, I said “pizza” and “emergency rooms” in the same sentence. How is that possible? It turns out that last year alone, some 2,300 hospital emergency room visits by consumers were reportedly for pizza-related injuries, according to the CPSC. The government agency said many of the injuries were caused by, but not limited to: Cuts obtained from cutting pizza Burns obtained from hot...
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    Chow Line: Meat vs. ‘Meat?’

    What’s the difference between meat, “clean meat” and plant-based “meat?” It’s all getting a bit confusing. This is a very interesting question that is on the mind of many livestock producers and food makers recently thanks to a new law in at least one state that legally defines what constitutes “meat.” Last week, lawmakers in Missouri became the first nationwide to create new provisions in their state’s Meat Advertising Law that require that any food or meat product that is called “meat” must be derived from livestock or poultry flesh.  The new provisions, which will begin to be enforced Jan. 1, 2019, say that meat products that aren’t derived from animal flesh must include a statement on the product...
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    Marketing Local Foods? How to Stand Out from the Competition

    LONDON, Ohio – As the demand for local foods continues to increase, more farmers, growers and food producers are taking advantage of the increasing opportunities to sell their products at farmers markets and directly to restaurants. But making their products stand out from the competition takes some extra effort, says Mary Griffith, agriculture and natural resources educator in Ohio State University Extension’s Madison County office. “Farmers and producers who sell their products at a farmers market or to a restaurant have to depend on relationship building with potential consumers in order to develop a customer base,” she said. “Working in direct marketing is so dependent on building and maintaining relationships with customers as well as setting...
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    Chow Line: Canning and Home Food Preservation

    With canning season in swing now, I have some home canning recipes that have been passed down through my family over decades that I want to try. With all the new techniques and information that have been developed regarding home food preservation, can I still use those old recipes? While it’s a wonderful, cherished tradition in many families to preserve food based on recipes that were developed and honed over the years in grandma’s, great-grandma’s and great-great-grandma’s kitchens, you should review those recipes, and if they don’t match recipes that have been tested and researched by food safety experts, you shouldn’t use them. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a valuable source for current research-based recommendations for...
  6. Photo: Monique Pairis-Garcia

    Ohio State Professor’s New Animal Welfare Designation Shows Compassion, Expertise

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – A veterinarian and assistant professor of animal sciences in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES) has been named a Diplomate of the American College of Animal Welfare, the only swine veterinarian in Ohio to earn such a designation. In fact, Monique Pairis-Garcia, who is also an animal welfare specialist with Ohio State University Extension, is the first veterinarian at Ohio State to earn board certification in this relatively new veterinary specialty. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES. The designation means that Pairis-Garcia can demonstrate detailed knowledge of and special competence in animal welfare across all species. This is significant, considering that the American Veterinary...
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    Chow Line: Tips for Dining out Safely

    With the recent reports of people developing foodborne illness after eating at certain restaurants, it’s made me a little worried about eating out. How can I be safe when dining out? Foodborne illnesses have been in the news a lot lately, most recently with the cases of some 650 people who reported becoming ill with gastrointestinal problems after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Powell, Ohio, last month. It turns out that what made them sick was a toxin produced by bacteria called Clostridium perfringens, according to the Delaware General Health District. While food samples taken from the restaurant tested negative for the bacteria, stool samples collected from sickened customers contained the toxin, the agency said. Clostridium perfringens is a foodborne...
  8. Voles and slugs have been dining on some corn and soybean crops across the state, causing some growers and producers to experience crop injuries

    Tips and Events for the Week of August 20

    Tip 1: Voles and slugs have been dining on some corn and soybean crops across the state, causing some growers and producers to experience crop injuries, according to a report published in the latest issue of the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network (C.O.R.N) newsletter, written by agriculture experts from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Evironmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES). Agronomists with Ohio State University Extension are conducting a survey of farmers to see how widespread the damage has been, writes Greg LaBarge, an agronomic systems field specialist with OSU Extension. LaBarge can be reached at 419-460-0600 or labarge.1@osu.edu. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES. Tip 2: Whether you think of it as Ohio-State-on-the-Lake, or...
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    Chow line: Two Cutting Boards are Better Than One

    I’m getting my own apartment soon and I’m shopping for a cutting board – should I get a wooden or plastic one? Congrats on your new home! When shopping for a new cutting board, there are many options to choose from, including wood, plastic, marble, glass or pyroceramic. While each one has its advantages and disadvantages, the easiest one to clean and keep clean, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a cutting board that has a nonporous surface. That’s the most important thing to consider when buying and using a cutting board – how to keep it clean to decrease the risk of contamination of pathogens that can cause a foodborne illness. So when choosing a cutting board, you should look for one that is easy to clean, rinse and sanitize....
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    Chow Line: Back-to-School? Food Safety Tips for Packed Lunches

    My kids are starting back to school next week, and this year they are packing their lunch for the first time. Any tips on what I need to do to make sure their packed lunch is safe and healthy? Wow – is it that time of year already? If your child wants to bring a packed lunch to school, there are several ways to make sure their lunch is both healthy and safe from pathogens that could cause a foodborne illness. This is an important distinction to make, as children are among the most vulnerable to food poisoning. That’s partly due to the fact that their immune systems are not as effective at fighting off bacteria and viruses compared to those of adults, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. When packing a lunch for your child to take to school, it’...
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    Chow Line: Simple Suppers Make Mealtimes Fun and Easy for Families, Kids

    I’m a mom of twin preschoolers and want to make sure that I teach them healthy eating habits at an early age. How I can do that and stay within a modest food budget? It’s wonderful that you want to establish healthy eating habits in your children starting when they are young. Research has shown that ensuring good nutritional habits, particularly early on, can help prevent childhood obesity and other chronic diseases. In addition to having a healthy weight, establishing healthy eating habits in children can help them have more energy and happier moods, and also can help them have those habits for the rest of their lives, experts say. One way to help instill better eating habits in your children is to take advantage of great programs out there like Simple Suppers....
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    Chow Line: Summer a Good Time for Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Other In-Season Produce

    I know that summer is a great time to get fresh sweet corn and juicy watermelons, but what else is in season now? 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. As mentioned in a previous “Chow Line,” improved technology and agricultural innovations mean that consumers can access fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. But because fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season, produce typically is fresher and...
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    Chow Line: Yes, Nonperishable Foods can Become Contaminated With Pathogens That cause Foodborne Illnesses

    I never knew that nonperishable foods like breakfast cereal can become contaminated with salmonella – how is that possible? While many people are aware that fresh produce and raw meat can become contaminated with pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses, fewer people think about nonperishable foods like breakfast cereal becoming contaminated with the same kind of pathogens. Such is the case in the recent outbreak of Salmonella Mbandaka that has been traced back to a popular sweetened puffed wheat breakfast cereal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning last week advising consumers “do not eat any Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal because it has been linked to a multistate outbreak of Salmonella infections.” As of July 12, the CDC said...
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    Chow Line: BBQ Safely: Be Careful when Using Steel Grill Brushes

    I clean my grill each time after I cook on it, using a steel wire grill brush to keep the grease and grime from building up on the grill racks. I’ve used the same brush for a couple of years now because I love how it cleans, but I’m wondering if I should get a new one this year.   That depends on just 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 may 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 end up in the meat or vegetables that you are grilling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been several...
  15. Project investigation team meeting at the Advanced Technology Pilot Plant in CFAES’ Parker Food Science and Technology Building. From right to left: Professor V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam, PBI Senior Vice President Edmund Ting, Professor Ahmed Yousef, Professor Rafael Jimenez-Flores, and Professor Christopher Simons. Photo: CFAES.

    Ohio State Scientists Studying Healthier Food and Beverage Processing Options

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – While more consumers want healthier beverage options, they’re also concerned about the safety of how those beverages are preserved. Health-conscious consumers want great tasting, healthy drinks that don’t include chemical additives and preservatives with names they can’t pronounce. Researchers in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University are seeking to remedy that issue. A team of CFAES scientists has been awarded a four-year, $891,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop an innovative manufacturing technology that will preserve food and beverages using wholesome, recognizable ingredients, no artificial...
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    Chow Line: USDA Warns: Wash Your Hands Properly to Prevent Foodborne Illness

    My husband gets frustrated with me because I’m always reminding him to wash his hands multiple times when cooking. He says washing before he cooks is enough.  Which one of us is right?   In this case, you are right. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just sent out a warning last week urging people to wash their hands throughout the food preparation process, not just at the beginning of cooking. And when you wash your hands, the USDA is urging people to take their time and wash their hands properly. This warning comes as a new USDA study in collaboration with North Carolina State University and RTI International, a North Carolina-based nonprofit research institute, found that people are failing to properly wash their hands 97 percent of the time when...
  17. Marcie Todd, owner of Freshtown Farm, an urban agriculture venture on the South Side of Columbus. The farm, located on a plot of land that formerly housed three vacant homes, now grows several varieties of plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables. Photo: Tracy Turner.

    Ohio State Tour to Highlight Columbus’ Growing Urban Agriculture Industry

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – For Mark VanFleet, down on the farm is actually a formerly vacant lot in a residential neighborhood on the South Side of Columbus. His one-half acre plot grows row upon row of vegetables, including lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, cucumbers, garlic, basil, dill, chard and kale. Known as Harriet Gardens, the lot provides enough for the full-time urban farmer to sell his produce to 15 local restaurants and at least three farmers’ markets. “I never thought I’d grow up to be a farmer – I’d never even gardened until my wife and I bought our house 10 years ago and planted a small plot in the backyard,” VanFleet said recently, as he harvested carrots out of his Merion Village farm. “It’s become my passion and, three...
  18. A bite from a lone star tick can cause meat allergies in some people. Photo: Thinkstock.

    Chow Line: Certain Tick Bites Can Cause Food Allergies

    Can you really develop an allergy to red meat from a tick bite? That depends. In certain cases, with a certain tick, in some people and in some states, including Ohio, yes. According to a recent article about a study on lone star ticks and allergies that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, some people who have been bitten by a lone star tick have gone on to develop an allergy to eating red meat, and in some cases, dairy. The study, done by researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, found that, in rare cases, some people have developed life-threatening allergic reactions to red meat after being bitten by a lone star tick. The study attributes the allergic reaction to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal), which...
  19. Susan Jones, a CFAES entomologist, works to help consumers prevent bedbug infestations

    Summer travelers beware: bedbugs on the rise

    Summer’s here and the time is right for … bedbugs? When you pack your bags for the Fourth of July or other vacations, make sure you don’t bring back bedbugs on your return trip. With the busy summer travel season here, the time is ripe for bedbugs to hitch a ride on your luggage, purse, clothes, and in some cases, even your shoes, said Susan Jones, an entomologist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. “Even though bedbugs haven’t been in the news as much as they’ve been before, they’re an even bigger problem than they’ve been in the past in Ohio,” she said. “For example, in Franklin County, bedbug treatments performed by licensed pest management...
  20. Photo: Thinkstock

    Tips and Events for the Week of June 25

    Tip 1: Black Bears in Ohio? Several black bears have been spotted across the Buckeye state in recent weeks, including a black bear struck and killed near Interstate 77 in Akron; a black bear spotted in Norton near Interstate 76; a black bear was spotted near a Trumbull County park; and the black bear that was spotted last week in Pike County. Marne Titchenell, a wildlife program specialist with CFAES, can discuss black bears and their sightings in Ohio and what homeowners and landowners can do if they come across one of these animals. Titchenell can be reached at 614-292-0402 or titchenell.4@osu.edu. Tip 2: Ohio does, in fact, have hogweeds: Giant hogweed, the nasty invasive plant that experts discovered for the first time in Virginia recently — has been found in scattered...
  21. Photo: Thinkstock

    Chow Line: That Free Food at Work May Significantly Increase Your Caloric Intake

    I’ve noticed that I’ve gained a few extra pounds in the past couple of months. The only things I can think of are the doughnuts and other snacks my coworkers bring to the office. Can those calories really add up that much? They sure can. The next time you reach for that pizza, candy, cookie, doughnut, bagel, cake or other rich, sugary goodies your coworker brought in to the break room or conference room for an office treat, be aware that it may be causing a significant increase in the calories you eat. That’s according to a new study that analyzed data from the U. S. Department of Agriculture Food Acquisition and Purchasing Survey. The survey shows that the foods and beverages many folks get at work are mostly high in sugar and solid fats, resulting in empty...
  22. Maketia Haralson (left) completed a personal finance course offered by Ohio State University Extension, which he said has benefited him, his son Malachi (right) and the rest of their family. Family portrait courtesy of Maketia Haralson.

    Ohio State Program Teaches New Fathers About Personal Finance

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – He started the financial literacy program simply because he wanted to learn how to manage his money better. What Maketia Haralson gained from the Ohio State University Extension New Beginnings/New Fatherhood program instead was a deeper understanding of how to better manage his life. The single father of a teenage son had recently lost his job and was soon to start another. But he was tired of living paycheck to paycheck and wanted to learn ways to manage his budget so that there would still be money left at the end of the month. After completing the program, Haralson said he’s learned to comparison shop, pay bills on time, negotiate prices and how to “watch my money, down to the last penny.” “I’m now smarter about how...
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    Chow Line: Pre-cut Melons Tied to Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

    I just heard a report that a brand of pre-cut melons was tied to a salmonella outbreak recently. How is that possible? You are right: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week warned about a multistate outbreak of salmonella associated with some pre-cut melons produced by a food distributor based in Indianapolis. The warning was about fresh, pre-cut melons including watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, and fresh-cut fruit medley products containing one of these melons. The food items were produced at Caito Foods facility in Indiana and were distributed to Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and North Carolina, CDC said. The “recalled products were sold in clear, plastic clamshell containers at Costco, Jay C, Kroger, Payless,...
  24. A camper practices his rock climbing skills at the Ohio 4-H Military Camp. Photo: Mitch Moser, CFAES.

    Ohio 4-H offers Summer Camps that Meet Many Needs, Interests

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Have a child who might enjoy snorkeling Lake Erie shipwrecks? Maybe your kid is fascinated by space and aerodynamics? Does your youngster want to spend time honing leadership skills? The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University (CFAES) has got a camp for all of that -- and much more. Thousands of youths across the state will participate in Ohio 4-H camps that are now or will soon be in session. Ohio 4-H, the youth development program of Ohio State University Extension, which is the outreach arm of CFAES, offers or sponsors the camps in all 88 of Ohio’s counties, said Hannah Epley, an OSU Extension 4-H camping specialist.  Last year, 17,213 youth participated in 4-H youth camping programs, Epley...
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    Chow Line: Don’t Drink the Pool Water!

    I tell my youngest son not to swallow water from the pool every time we go swimming. While I know that it’s gross, can it also make him sick?   Yes, it can. While most people assume that water that has been chlorinated is safe, there are some parasites and organisms that can live up to 7 days in a chlorinated pool, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlorination is a process in which water is treated with chemicals to kill organisms that may cause illnesses. However, the procedure is far from a guarantee. “Pathogens able to evade chlorine inactivation have become leading outbreak etiologies,” CDC said in a written statement. “Pool chemicals don’t work right away; even properly treated pool water can spread germs....

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