Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. 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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    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...
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    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)....
  11. 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...
  12. 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.                                                       ...
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    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...
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    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...
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    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...
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    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...
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    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...
  22. 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...
  24. 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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