Tracy Turner

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

    Chow Line: Eating More Vegetables, Lean Proteins Could Help With Fertility

    I want to have children at some point in the near future. My mom says that the types of foods both my husband and I eat could help impact my chances of conceiving. Is that true? It’s well-known that eating healthy, incorporating plenty of exercise into your normal routine and maintaining a healthy weight contributes to your overall health and well-being. And, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, nutrition and a healthy body weight for both partners can have a significant impact on the ability to conceive. The issue is significant for many people considering that some 10 percent of the population is impacted by infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The Alabama-based multidisciplinary organization says that achieving and...
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    Chow Line: Wash Fresh Produce Before Eating to Ensure Food Safety

    My boyfriend insists that we have to rinse off all fruit before eating it – even watermelon, kiwi and cantaloupe. I say fruit that I cut to eat, like melons, doesn’t need to be rinsed first, and it’s OK to just wipe off an apple or grape before popping it into your mouth. Who’s right? Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a great choice that promotes a healthy diet. As such, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest you should fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables at each meal. But, because fruits and vegetables can sometimes harbor harmful bacteria, it is important that you rinse all produce under running water before preparing or eating it. That includes fresh produce that was purchased from a grocery store, a farmers market or even grown...
  3. Chow Line: Healthy Breakfast Choices Include Whole Grains, Protein

    I often find myself running out the door to avoid being late to work, so oftentimes that doesn’t leave me much time to eat in the mornings. What are some quick, easy breakfast ideas on a busy morning? Eating a meal in the morning helps your body fuel up for the day, especially if you make that first meal a healthy one. The best options for breakfast are those that include whole grains, protein, and fruits or vegetables, according to researchers at Harvard University Medical School. Healthy breakfast options also include low-fat or fat-free milk and other dairy items, meats, and meat alternatives, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The benefits to eating breakfast are many. Adults who regularly eat a healthy breakfast are more likely to control their weight,...
  4. USDA advises consumers to use a food thermometer to accurately measure if meat is cooked to a high enough internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria. Photo: Thinkstock.

    Chow Line: Grilling this Weekend? Use Meat Thermometer to Increase Food Safety

    My dad considers himself a grill master, but I think some of his techniques are questionable, like marinating the meat in a dish on the countertop or checking the doneness of burgers or chicken by color. What can I tell him to convince him these methods aren’t safe? Your dad is not alone — many people use color as an indicator of doneness when grilling meats. In fact, according to recent research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, only 34 percent of the public uses a food thermometer when cooking hamburgers. But, in order to avoid foodborne illness, the USDA advises consumers to use a food thermometer to accurately measure if meat is cooked to a high enough internal temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria such as salmonella...
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    Mental Health First Aid: Helping Ohio State Help Ohioans

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – If someone were having a panic attack, delusions, suicidal thoughts or an overdose from alcohol or drugs in front of you, would you know what to do? Ohio State University Extension professionals will soon be trained in how to identify and handle such situations. Mental Health First Aid, offered by the National Council for Behavioral Health, is being offered to OSU Extension staff statewide. The goal is to help people gain the skills needed to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance/opioid abuse challenges and crises. OSU Extension professionals are in all 88 Ohio counties, making it invaluable to arm them with the ability to respond to a mental health or substance abuse crisis, said Roger Rennekamp, director of OSU Extension...
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    Chow Line: Wedding Season Food Safety Tips

    My fiancé and I are getting married in June and we want to make sure our guests have a wonderful experience. But I’ve heard some horror stories about people getting sick from food during wedding receptions. What can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen at our wedding? Adhering to good food safety guidelines during a wedding reception will help ensure that your guests leave your wedding with only happy memories. No one wants a bad case of food poisoning that could leave them sick for days or even land them in the hospital as a wedding favor. That has been the case for some wedding guests, according to published reports. More than 300 guests were sickened during a 2014 wedding in Sullivan, Mo. after consuming gravy that was not cooled and reheated correctly....
  7. When temperatures rise, getting enough fluids is even more important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just outside in the sun. Photo: Thinkstock.

    Chow Line: Stay Hydrated in Warmer Weather

    Now that spring is here and the weather is warming up, I plan to be outside more doing all kinds of strenuous outdoor activities. What are some ways to keep hydrated? Staying hydrated is a key part of staying healthy. Consuming an adequate amount of fluids helps to maintain body functions, including those of your heart, brain and muscles. Fluids also serve to carry nutrients to your cells, keep your temperature normal, digest food, flush bacteria from your bladder and prevent constipation. However, when temperatures rise, getting enough fluids is even more important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just outside in the sun, according to the American Heart Association. In fact, your body needs more fluids when you are more physically active, are running a fever, or...
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    Chow Line: Food Safety after the Storm

    Our neighborhood lost power after a round of violent storms hit our area and some of our neighbors’ homes were also flooded. Now that the storms are over and the power is coming back on, can we still eat the food in our fridge and freezer? That depends on how long the power was out, how you managed the food in your refrigerator and freezer while the electricity wasn’t on and whether any of the food or beverages were touched by floodwaters. If your home was flooded, it is important that you throw away any food that may have come into contact with floodwater. That includes cartons of milk, juice or eggs and any raw vegetables and fruits. In fact, any foods in your home that aren’t in a waterproof container that came into contact with floodwater need to be thrown out...
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    Chow Line: App Tells How to Store Foods Safely

    I go grocery shopping once a month for my family and I tend to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in larger quantities. What is the best way to safely store these items to keep them fresh? The “best way” to store your food depends on the food items that you’ve purchased. Storing foods properly can greatly impact their quality and safety over time. For specific storage information at your fingertips, try the U.S Department of Agriculture Foodkeeper app. This recently updated app offers consumers information on how to avoid food waste by providing information on how to store food safely and information on how long certain foods last. Not only does the app offer tips on how to keep and store fresh foods, it also includes information on how to store more than 400 food...
  10. Chow Line: Frozen Vegetables Are Healthy Options

    My wife and I disagree on whether or not it’s better to eat fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables. I say that frozen veggies are just as healthy as fresh vegetables, but my wife disagrees. Which one of us is right? Both of you. As long as you both are eating vegetables, you are making the right decision. Eating vegetables, whether they are frozen or fresh, is a great idea and a very healthy food choice. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines recommends that you make half your plate fruits and vegetables at every meal. They can be raw or cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, or even dried or dehydrated. There is new research, however, that says frozen veggies are as healthy as fresh vegetables. In a study to be published in the June 2017 issue of the...
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    DeviceReady Workshop Focuses on Business Online Marketing Strategies

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Business owners, do you ever wonder what consumers think about your business website? Are you confident that your customers can easily find your business online? Business owners statewide can learn how to better manage their online presence to promote their businesses at a workshop offered by marketing experts with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The DeviceReady marketing workshop is April 25 and will be led by specialists from the Direct Agricultural Marketing Program of Ohio State University Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. The workshop is designed to offer business owners information on key marketing strategies to promote their businesses and products by enhancing...
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    Chow Line: Save Time and Money at the Grocery Store

    Lately I’ve found that I am spending more time and money at the grocery store, sometimes even buying things that I don’t need. What are some strategies to help me spend less and save time? One of the first things to remember when grocery shopping: never shop on an empty stomach. Shopping while hungry could lead you to buy less nutritious impulse items and cause you to spend more money than you’d intended. It’s also important that you have a shopping list prepared before you get to the grocery store. Make a list by looking in your kitchen cabinets, pantry and refrigerator to see what food items you need at home. And when you get to the store, stick to your list. This will help you avoid buying unnecessary items. Other smart shopping tips from the U.S....
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    Chow Line: To Eat or Not to Eat – An Egg-cellent Question about Easter Eggs

    My mom is hosting Easter dinner this year and plans to have an Easter egg hunt for the grandkids. Growing up, we always ate the eggs used in the egg hunt, and my mom insists this is fine. But I’ve heard that you shouldn’t eat those eggs. You should have a separate batch — one to eat and one to hide and use for decorations. Which one of us is right? Well, that depends. You both are right – in certain circumstances. Eggs are an important source of protein and are delicious to eat. However, they must be handled safely to prevent the chance of contracting a foodborne illness. One such outbreak occurred nationwide in 2010 when nearly 2,000 consumers reported becoming ill and some 550 million eggs were recalled due to salmonella contamination, according to the...
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    Chow Line: New Rules Require Calorie Postings in Restaurant Menus

    My family likes to eat out several times a month, but I’ve heard recently that many restaurant menu items contain plenty of calories. So how can we avoid eating too many calories when dining out? One way of avoiding consuming a lot of calories when eating out is to first be aware of exactly how many calories are in the foods before you eat them. Beginning May 5, that will be much easier for consumers to figure out. That’s when the Food and Drug Administration will officially require restaurants with 20 or more locations to post nutritional information facts for their regular menu items, including beverages. While some food establishments already provide calorie counts on their menus or menu boards, the new regulations will require all impacted restaurants nationwide...
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    Chow Line: The Devil’s in the Details When It Comes to Added Sugar in Foods and Drinks

    I’ve decided that I want to eat healthier and lessen the amount of sugar that I consume. But how can I tell what foods and drinks have added sugar? Whether a food product is labeled honey-baked, maple-flavored or has dried raisins or fruit juice concentrates, what those words are really telling you is that you’re are about to eat or drink has added sugar. People often don’t realize that many of the foods and beverages they consume have added sugar. According to a study by the University of North Carolina, of the most common packaged foods and drinks purchased in grocery stores across the country, 60 percent of them included some form of added sugar. But what exactly is added sugar and why is it an issue? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, added...
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    Agritourism Conference Focuses on Adherence to Ohio Law

    WALDO, Ohio – Whether it’s a corn maze, a zip line, a hayride or a pick-your-own operation, Ohio farm operators who offer agritourism attractions must be properly insured and have warning signs posted at each activity notifying visitors that the operator is not liable for any injuries related to those inherent risks. That’s just a few of the provisions found in an Ohio law signed last summer regarding agritourism. The law, which took effect last August, not only defines what agritourism is, but also offers protections for agritourism operators, and addresses issues including civil liability risks, property taxation and local zoning authority. To help farm operators understand exactly what language is contained in the law and to help those in the agritourism...
  17. Corned beef. Photo: Thinkstock

    Chow Line: Don’t Count on Luck to Make Corned Beef Safely for St. Patrick’s Day

    I’m hosting dinner this year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and I plan to serve corned beef. Are there any measures that I need to take to prevent the potential for any foodborne illnesses? Corned beef, just like any other raw meat or poultry item, should be handled with care to lessen the potential for foodborne illnesses. That starts the moment you purchase the meat in the grocery store or butcher shop and bring it home. Uncooked whole corned beef is typically sold wrapped in packaging that still contains the salt brine with spices used to cure or pickle the beef. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package of the meat and store it unopened in the refrigerator for no more than 5 to 7 days from that date. If you purchase corned beef with a use-by date, make sure...
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    Growers, Producers: Learn How to Effectively Market Your Business

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio farmers and food producers can learn how to target and communicate with consumers to help increase the visibility and economic potential of their businesses at a workshop offered at three Ohio locations in March and April. The Educational Marketing Program workshop is being offered by specialists from the Direct Agricultural Marketing Program of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Proud program. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The Ohio Proud program identifies and promotes food and agricultural products made and grown in Ohio. The workshop is designed to offer food producers practical information on best...
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    Chow Line: Eat More Fruits and Veggies! National Nutrition Month a Good Time to Start

    I do most of the cooking in my house and try to make sure that the meals I prepare are both good tasting and healthy. However, I am in a rut when it comes to healthy food ideas. Do you have any suggestions on any clever, tasty ways to add more fruits and veggies to my family’s diet? The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends that people make half their plate fruits and vegetables. That includes eating whole fruits – fresh, frozen, dried or canned in 100 percent juice and eating fresh, frozen or canned vegetables either raw, steamed, sautéed or roasted. Make sure to include dark green, red and orange vegetables as well as legumes such as beans and peas and starchy and other vegetables. Why is this important? People should eat more fruits and vegetables because they...
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    East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference Is March 24

    MASSILLON, Ohio – Female farmers, growers and those women interested in becoming farm operators can learn more about the industry during a conference offered by Ohio State University Extension, which is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The East Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference is March 24 from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the R.G. Drage Career Technical Center, 2800 Richville Drive Southwest, in Massillon. The event is targeted toward women, including those of high school age, who are interested in, involved in or want to become involved in food, agricultural or natural resources production or small business, said Heather Neikirk, an OSU Extension educator and co-organizer of the conference....
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    March 29 Soil Health Workshop Focuses on Benefits of Cover Crops

    XENIA, Ohio – Farmers who want to improve their soil’s health and cut input costs all while benefiting Ohio’s water quality may want to consider adding cover crops to their fields. Additional benefits for growers to add cover crops such as oilseed radish, cereal rye, Austrian winter pea and crimson clover include reducing soil erosion and nutrient losses, according to Alan Sundermeier, an Ohio State University Extension educator. Farmers who want to learn more about cover crops, including how to decide which is best for their soils, can attend the Cover Crop Soil Health Workshop, March 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Greene County Fairgrounds, Buckeye Room, 100 Fairgrounds Road, in Xenia. The workshop is offered by the College of Food, Agricultural, and...
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    Ohio Soil Health Symposium Offers Insight on Promoting, Protecting Soils

    TIFFIN, Ohio – Farmers, certified crop advisers and other members of the agriculture industry can gain in-depth insight into soil health and conservation during a daylong Ohio Soil Health Symposium on March 28. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is sponsored by the Seneca Conservation District and will feature presentations by experts with the district, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University, and other agriculture industry experts. “The symposium will provide the latest research and policy information which will guide soil health improvement,” said Alan Sundermeier, an Ohio State University Extension educator. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the college. “The Seneca County area in north-central...
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    Chow Line: Water, Other Nonsugary Drinks Best Option for Kids

    My children used to drink a lot of high-sugar soft drinks. A few years ago we cut back, limiting them to one a day. But I saw something recently that makes me think even that might be too much. What is the recommendation? The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends that people consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from added sugars. The guidelines also recommend that people either avoid sugar-sweetened drinks from their diet overall, or at the very least, limit the amount of sugary drinks they consume. Other organizations, such as the American Heart Association, say kids shouldn’t consume more than 100 calories a day of added sugar. The group further recommends that children limit their consumption of sugary drinks to 8 ounces a week. But the reality is, many kids...
  24. Malting barley. Photo: Thinkstock

    March 24 Malting Barley Conference Focuses on Future of Barley as Ohio Cash Crop

    XENIA, Ohio – Ohio malting barley growers are experiencing increased demand for the specialty crop used as a key ingredient in craft beers, experts say. With a growing craft beer industry in Ohio, malting barley growers can expect that the demand for the crop likely will continue to grow, said Brian Kleinke, an Ohio State University Extension Educator. “As of 2016, there were more than 170 licensed breweries statewide, meaning that the income potential for malting barley growers is significant,” Kleinke said. To help new growers learn how to get started growing malting barley in Ohio, as well as provide more insight for established growers, a Malting Barley Conference and Trade Show will be held March 24 at the Greene County fairgrounds, 100 Fairground Road in Xenia,...
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    Conservation and Tillage Conference Focuses on Soil Health, Water Quality and Other Farm Issues

    ADA, Ohio – Ever wondered why farmers should care about bees? The answer to that and more will be discussed during the annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, held March 7-8 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University, 525 S. Main St., in Ada. The event focuses on providing information to farmers on promoting and maintaining soil health, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer. From offering a workshop on “Farms and Pollinators: Why Farmers Should Care About the Bees,” and a discussion on “Correcting Tillage Effects with Cover Crops,” the two-day event is designed to provide opportunities “for farmers to learn about the latest technology and practices for conserving soil and...

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