Tracy Turner

Technical Editor
Focus Areas: 
Chow Line, consumer news, food safety, nutrition.
  1. 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...
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. 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...
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    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...
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    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...
  8. 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,...
  10. 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....
  12. 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...
  17. 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,...
  18. Various flavors of liquid nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes. Photo: Thinkstock.

    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...
  19. 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...
  24. 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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