Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. Image of a tapeworm in a person's intestine. Tapeworms are a species of parasitic flatworms Photo: Thinkstock

    Chow Line: Precautions Can Lessen Your Chance of Developing Tapeworms

    I just heard about an athlete who developed a tapeworm infection from eating raw fish. How is that possible? It actually is possible to develop a fish tapeworm infection after eating raw or undercooked fish that is contaminated with the parasite Diphyllobothrium latum. In the case you mention, it was reported that a 20-year-old Ohio hockey player, who was suffering from mysterious fatigue and weight loss, went to the bathroom and saw that he had passed a 25-inch tapeworm. So, what are tapeworms and how can one get such an infection? Tapeworms are flat, segmented parasitic worms that can live in the intestines of some animals that have become infected from eating or drinking a food or water source contaminated with tapeworm eggs or larvae, according to the Centers for Disease...
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    Chow Line: Grilling, Smoking, or Barbecuing: Is there a difference?

    What is the difference between smoking, grilling, and barbecuing beef? And which cuts are good for grilling, smoking, and barbecuing?   With Memorial Day this weekend, now is a good time to know the difference between smoking, grilling, and barbecuing beef. Memorial Day is the second-most popular grilling holiday of the year, according to a survey from the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, with some 58 percent of consumers planning to light up the grill Monday. And, seven in 10 U.S. adults own a grill or smoker, the group said. With that in mind, it’s good to know the difference between smoking, grilling, and barbecuing. Smoking is the process of combusting wood chips, chunks, or logs to generate smoke, which contributes to the complexity of flavor and color...
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    Youths Fight Opioid Epidemic

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – It started as a simple plea from one teen to another, then another, and another, and then to many others. Do you have a stuffed animal that you could donate? It doesn’t have to be brand new – just one that you’re willing to give to help a child in need of comfort and support. The toys will be donated to local police stations so that officers can keep them in the back of their squad cars and could give them to a child when they arrive at the scene of a drug overdose and there are children there that may have witnessed the event. This was the message from Callia Barwick, a 4-H member from Mahoning County, who organized a toy drive earlier this year as part of her work as a 4-H Health Hero. The program is offered by Ohio 4-H, the youth...
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    Chow Line: Eggs Over Easy Not Recommended

    I love eggs over easy for breakfast, but lately, I’m hesitant to order my eggs that way because of mixed messages I’ve heard about eggs and a recall. Can you tell me what’s going on and about the risk of eating my eggs with a runny yolk? While many people enjoy their eggs over easy, an egg that’s fried just until the whites are set on the bottom and then flipped over and lightly cooked on the other side, leaving the yolk runny, is not the best choice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Instead, the government agency recommends that eggs be cooked until both the yolk and the white are firm, to help consumers avoid foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella. In fact, the CDC recommends against eating undercooked or raw eggs, due to the increased...
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    Chow Line: Dark Chocolate Can Be a Healthy Option for Mother’s Day Celebrations

    I want to give my mom a gift for Mother’s Day that she will really like and will be healthy. My sister said we should give her some chocolate, but is that healthy? It can be, depending on the kind of chocolate you choose to get your mom. While it’s known that dark chocolate offers some heart-healthy benefits, a new study out this month says the benefits of dark chocolate in moderation may also include improving your eyesight. Dark chocolate has benefits 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...
  6. Pictured: a deer tick crawling on a penny. Photo: Glen Needham

    Tick Season Has Officially Started in Ohio, Increasing the Risk of Lyme Disease

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – The weather’s finally warm, the sun is out, and now, so are the ticks. And this year, tick season in Ohio is expected to be pretty bad, says Glen Needham, a retired entomologist and tick expert formerly with Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University. Already, Needham has collected the first blacklegged or deer tick nymph of the season in Coshocton County, and he said that this is just the beginning of what people can expect to see as tick season ramps up. “With the extended winter cold we’ve experienced this year and the slower to develop spring weather, you can expect to see a lot of ticks starting to come out all at once,...
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    Chow Line: FDA Warns Adults to Keep Kids Away from Liquid Nicotine

    My son found an e-cigarette strawberry flavored nicotine pack and almost drank it thinking that it was some kind of candy. Luckily I stopped him in time, but are these products safe for kids? No. As e-cigarettes have become more popular, the number of children who have been exposed to liquid nicotine has also increased. So says the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, which this week warned parents, caregivers and other adults to be vigilant to keep kids from getting their hands on these packs of liquid nicotine and drinking them. The new warning comes as data from the National Poison Data System shows that from January 2012 to April 2017, the agency received 8,269 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure in children younger than 6, mostly in regard to children drinking these...
  8. Edible flowers such as nasturtium are a good option for an edible landscape. Considering that today is Arbor Day (April 27), why not mark the occasion by planning and then planting an edible landscape?

    Chow Line: Spring Planting Urban Landscapes You Can Eat

    My neighbor said she wants to plant edible landscaping this year to spruce up her front yard, but I’ve never heard of doing that. Is it true you can eat your landscape bushes? Yes, but it depends on what bushes you are talking about! It seems that your neighbor is embracing a growing trend in gardening that allows people to both beautify their homes and grow delicious, healthy foods. Edible landscaping involves growing food-producing plants in residential landscapes. Designs can include berry bushes, fruit and nut trees, edible flowers, fruiting vines, vegetables, and herbs. “People have a renewed interest in growing plants that not only look nice but also can be used for food,” said Paul Snyder, program coordinator with Secrest Arboretum at the Ohio...
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    Ohio State Training Helps Restaurants Avoid Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Say a restaurant employee doesn’t wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom or comes to work sick. If a foodborne illness outbreak occurs as a result, it could cost a restaurant more than $2.5 million. That’s the conclusion of a new Johns Hopkins University study that found that the cost of a single foodborne illness outbreak at a fast food restaurant is between $3,968 and $1.9 million. The costs are potentially even higher for higher-end restaurants, between $8,273 and $2.6 million. To help restaurants and the food service industry lessen their odds of having a foodborne illness, food safety experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University offer food safety training to Ohio...
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    News Tips and Events for the Week of April 23

    Tip 1: Welcome to the first Ohio 4-H LGBTQ+ Summit. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will host the first Ohio 4-H LGBTQ+ Summit, April 27-28 at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. The event will include a Professional Development Day, April 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., for 4-H-affiliated adults including post-high school participants, 4-H professionals, parents and volunteers. The event will also feature a Youth Summit on April 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., for youth only (and designated 4-H professionals), including middle school and high school students and youth not enrolled in 4-H. Registration for the April 27 portion of the summit is $50 for...
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    Chow Line: FDA Says Avoid Highly Concentrated and Pure Caffeine Products

    My roommate wants to take this caffeine powder he found online so that he can stay up late to study for his midterm exams. I’ve told him that’s not a good idea. Am I right? Yes, you’re right. In fact, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration announced last Friday that highly concentrated and pure caffeine products are illegal when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers. The federal agency is now working to get them off of the market and is warning consumers to not use the products, which are often sold as dietary supplements. Many of the highly concentrated and pure caffeine products are currently sold online, FDA said. “Products consisting of or containing only pure or highly concentrated caffeine have been linked to at least two deaths in the...
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    Chow Line: Spring Cleaning Checklist Should Include Your Fridge and Pantry, Too

    I’ve noticed that sometimes, my refrigerator has a stale odor. How can I determine what’s causing the smell, and most importantly, how can I stop the problem from occurring? It’s likely that what you are smelling is either bacteria or mold that can thrive in moist conditions and are oftentimes found in refrigerators. Moist conditions in a fridge can be caused by condensation from the fridge, humidity from the outside and, yes, spilled foods, experts say. The issue is that once moisture gets into your refrigerator, microbes can multiply and eventually emit a foul smell. There are several ways to deal with the issue, and with spring weather finally starting to occur, now is a good time to do so. When you plan your spring-cleaning regimen this season, including...
  13. Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) leaves, in powder form, capsules and tablets. Photo: Thinkstock

    Chow Line: FDA Recalls Kratom Due to Salmonella Fears

    I just heard that the FDA recalled something called kratom, but I’m not sure what it is. Is it some kind of food, and why has it been recalled? Mitragyna speciosa, which is commonly known as kratom, is a leafy tree that grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Its leaves are typically processed into a powder form, which is encapsulated and is sold by some companies as a dietary supplement. Because it can be ingested, kratom is categorized as a food product and falls under the oversight of the FDA. The FDA this week used its recall authority to force a Nevada-based company that sells kratom-based products to pull them off the market after several of its products tested positive for Salmonella....
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    April 25 Forum to Focus on Increasing Ohio Farm to School Opportunities

    CINCINNATI – The goal is simple: to get more local foods to more Ohio students in more Ohio schools. The question of how to do so is slightly more complicated. Experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University, in partnership with Ohio State’s Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), will host a preconference policy forum to discuss the issue in advance of the upcoming National Farm to Cafeteria conference April 25-27 at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., in Cincinnati. The Ohio Farm to Cafeteria Pre-Conference and Policy Forum is April 25 from 3-8 p.m. at the convention center and will provide an opportunity for Ohio’s Farm to School stakeholders to discuss...
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    Chow Line: No April Fools’ on Easter Food Safety

    I’m making ham for Easter dinner this year, and I’m relatively new to this whole cooking thing. Any tips on how I can do this safely? Easter falls on April Fools’ Day this year. If you want to make sure you don’t prank your guests with a stomachache, there are some food safety rules you can follow to ensure a safe, delicious meal. Because ham is one of the traditional meats served at Easter, let’s start there. Ham, which is the leg of pork, can be fresh, cured, or cured-and-smoked. Fresh ham bears the label "fresh," which is an indication that the product is not cured, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Curing is the process of adding salt, sodium or potassium nitrate, nitrites, and sometimes sugar, seasonings, phosphates, and...
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    News Tips and Events for the Week of March 26

    Tip 1: Americans Projected to Eat More Protein this Year. A Boost for Livestock Producers? The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that consumers will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018, more than ever before. The closest consumers came to consuming this amount was back in 2004, the government agency said. Thanks in part to more Americans choosing to reduce the amount of carbohydrates from their eating habits in favor of plans such as the Keto Diet or the Atkins Diet, the demand for protein is higher than ever, according to USDA’s January 2018 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Domestic beef and poultry production is also forecast to surpass 100 billion pounds this year, USDA says. John Grimes, beef coordinator for Ohio State University Extension and a member of the...
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    Chow Line: Binge Drinking — How Much Is Too Much?

    My friends and I go to happy hour after work sometimes for a drink. But one of my friends doesn’t stop at one or two drinks, instead sometimes having three or four drinks. Is that considered binge drinking? That depends on if your friend is a man or a woman. (Either way, they shouldn’t drive afterward.) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks for men, or four or more drinks for women, in about two hours. A binge drinker is someone who experiences at least one binge-drinking episode during a 30-day period. A standard alcoholic drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, which is typically about 5 percent alcohol; 5 ounces of wine, which is typically 12 percent alcohol; or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor, which is...
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    CFAES Report Focuses on Ways to Increase Rural Access to Broadband Internet in Ohio

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — While the majority of Ohioans have access to fast, reliable broadband internet service in their homes, some 1 million others don’t, says an analyst with the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University. “This unserved population largely lives in less populated rural regions of the state where it is prohibitively expensive for internet service providers to extend service,” according to Mark Partridge, chair of the Swank program and professor in Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics. The Swank program, housed in the department, conducts research, teaching and outreach within CFAES. A recent report released by researchers with the Swank program says there is a...
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    Chow Line: Why Is Corned Beef Pink?

    Since corned beef is pink, how do you know if it’s fully cooked? And why is it pink anyway? Corned beef is a brined, tougher cut of meat that can be either the brisket, rump or round that many Americans traditionally like to eat on St. Patrick’s Day along with cabbage. Corned beef got its name from the corning or curing process that was historically used to preserve meat before modern refrigeration. The beef cuts were dry-cured in coarse pellets of salt that were typically the size of a kernel of corn. The pellets were rubbed into the meat to keep it from spoiling. Hence the name “corned” beef. Today’s corned beef is now brined or cured using a salt water or sodium nitrite mixture, which fixes the pigment in the meat and causes it to be pink in color...
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    Chow Line: Wash Your Hands When Using Your Smartphone or Tablet While Cooking

    I often watch video recipes on my smartphone while cooking. I always wash my hands before I start cooking, but it’s never occurred to me to wash them again each time I touch my phone. Can that make me sick? YES! I don’t want to totally gross you out, but the average smartphone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. In fact, the average person touches their smartphone 2,617 times a day, according to a study by dscout, a Chicago-based research firm. Because people often take their phones with them everywhere, including into the potty, various microbes are transferred when the phones are touched. Some of those microbes can survive for up to 16 months, according to research published in 2006 in BMC Infectious Diseases. Research has also shown that smartphones and...
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    Chow Line: How to Get Kids to Adopt Healthier Eating Habits

    I saw a recent report that says that childhood obesity is still on the rise, and that has me really worried. What can I do to help my child eat healthier? You are right. According to a new report released this week, the number of children in the United States between the ages of 2 to 19 who are obese reached 18.5 percent in 2015 and 2016. That’s an increase from 14 percent in 1999, according to the study that appears in the February issue of the Pediatrics journal. Researchers studied data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination survey to come up with their findings. They also found that the percentage of children ages 2 to 5 who are obese hit nearly 14 percent during the same time period. That’s an increase...
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    Revised Phosphorus Index Can Help Curb Agricultural Runoff

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio farmers will soon have access to a newly revised tool that can quickly and easily tell them their risk of agricultural phosphorus runoff that could potentially move into Ohio waterways such as Lake Erie. All with the help of an online program. The revised Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index is a program developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to help farmers assess their risk of phosphorus moving off farm fields. It will soon allow farmers to input their farm-specific data to generate their risk of phosphorus in agricultural runoff. The revised index is the result of the multiyear On-Field Ohio project led by Elizabeth (Libby) Dayton, a researcher in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental...
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    Combating Ohio's Opioid Crisis

    Opioids killed 4,050 Ohioans in 2016, ranking Ohio No. 1 in the nation in terms of opioid-related overdose deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s a 33 percent increase from 2015. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences is hitting the problem head on, with efforts designed to combat Ohio’s opioid crisis underway in all 88 Ohio counties through its Ohio State University Extension offices, which is the outreach arm of CFAES. From first aid training for OSU Extension employees — to learn to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance/opioid abuse — to working with 4-H youths to empower them to speak out against opioids, CFAES is working to fulfill its land-grant mission. Mental health...
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    Chow Line: Healthy Eating on a Budget

    So I’ve been trying to stick to my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, but I’m finding that’s its been pretty expensive to do so far. Do you have any tips on how I can eat right, but on a budget? I’m glad to see that you’ve made moves to eat healthier and are adhering to your healthy resolutions. And while many people may think that eating healthy means a hefty, expensive grocery bill, that’s not always the case. In fact, it costs less than $2 more per day per person to eat healthier, according to a 2013 study by the Harvard University School of Public Health. The study found that by swapping out some less expensive, and less healthy foods, for fresher and more nutritious ones added up to only about $1.50 more per day. Getting the...
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    Chow Line: Food Safety Hotline Provides Answers to Consumers’ Food Questions

    There seems to be a lot of information on food safety issues online. But I’m wondering, is there somewhere or someone I can call for help when I have questions about food safety? You can call 1-800-752-2751 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a food safety expert from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University will likely have the answers to your food safety questions. Created in 1985 by the CFAES Food Industries Center as a service to support the needs of Ohio-based food processors, the Food Safety Hotline is now a consumer resource for any popular food issue, according to Heather Dean, who serves as the hotline’s coordinator. The hotline is now accessible by consumers nationwide, thanks to a...

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