Tracy Turner

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

    Chow Line: Careful: Some of that Halloween Candy Haul Can Send Some Folks to the Hospital

    Can eating too much black licorice really cause heart problems? In some cases, for some people, yes. Halloween may be over, but some of the candy gathered during trick or treat could still land some people in the hospital. That’s according to a warning this week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that says that people over 40 who eat 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could experience an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia that could land them in the hospital. Black licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root, FDA says. The problem is that glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall, causing some people to experience abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, swelling,...
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    Chow Line: Safe Halloween Treats Without the Scary Tricks

    Trick or treat is next week and this is the first year my little guy is old enough to go out candy gathering. What can I do to make sure he is safe, but also has a good time trick-or-treating? In terms of food safety, parents can use a few quick checks to evaluate if treats contain allergens relevant to their child, if the product’s package integrity has been tampered with, or if a treat represents a choking hazard based on the child’s age. The first thing you can do is make sure your kiddo understands that he is not to eat any candy or other treats that he bags during trick-or-treat until after you have had a chance to inspect those goodies at home. One good way to inspect the candy is to take a close look at the candy under a bright light, paying close attention to...
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    Ohio State Experts: Increased Access to Treatment, Improving Economic Opportunity Are Keys to Combating Ohio’s Opioid Crisis

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – One effective way to combat Ohio’s growing opioid crisis is to prioritize treatment in underserved areas across the state because those are among the areas struggling most with opioid abuse, says an analyst with the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University. “As it now stands, Ohio likely only has the capacity to treat 20 to 40 percent of the estimated 92,000 to 170,000 Ohioans who are abusing or dependent on opioids,” said Mark Partridge, chair 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 the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences....
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    Chow Line: Website Offers Nutritional Tips, Tactics for Food Savings

    I have a limited budget to spend on food, but I want to make sure my family is eating healthy. What are some tips to help me incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my grocery haul while staying within my budget? Eating healthy and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake doesn’t have to be expensive. Planning ahead for your grocery spending can allow you to make healthy food choices that won’t cause sticker shock to your family’s food budget. One of the best ways to stick to a budget is to take inventory in your kitchen of the items that are needed for the week or the month and make a list of the foods you plan to purchase before you get to the grocery store. And once you are at the store, stick to your grocery list, bypassing the urge to buy any tempting...
  5. Known as the official state apple of Ohio, the Melrose apple tends to be large with good flavor and texture. Photo: Ohio State University.

    Chow Line: Apples – To Peel or Not to Peel?

    My little boy loves apples, but he refuses to eat them unless they are skinned and cut into little pieces. Is he still getting the same nutrition as eating them with the peel? Take heart – apples are not only delicious, they’re a healthy, nutritious, low calorie part of a balanced diet. So the fact that your son enjoys eating apples is wonderful. However, if you could find a way to incorporate the apple skin into his apple slices, your son would get the additional nutritional benefits derived from eating the apple peel. That’s because the skin of the apple is where most of the fiber and other nutrients are found. In fact, a medium unpeeled apple has nearly twice the fiber, 40 percent more vitamin A and 25 percent more potassium than a peeled apple, according to...
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    Workshop Designed to Teach Women Landowners Negotiation Skills

    COSHOCTON, Ohio – Women landowners and tenants can learn the art of negotiation, drawing up lease contracts and other facets of land-lease agreements during a workshop offered by the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. The Ladies on the Land workshop is Oct. 20 from noon to 4:30 p.m. and will be held simultaneously in two locations: at the Frontier Power Community Room, 770 South 2nd St. in Coshocton; and at the Putnam County Extension Office, 1206 East 2nd St., in Ottawa. The event is targeted toward female landowners and renters, said Emily Adams, an Ohio State University Extension educator and co-organizer of the event. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES. The goal of the workshop, she said, is to provide women...
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    Chow Line: Consuming Placenta After Birth Not Recommended for New Moms

    I’ve heard that consuming your placenta after giving birth can help new mothers with postpartum depression and ease pain. Is that true? The placenta is an organ that connects a developing fetus to the mother’s uterine wall. It transports oxygen and other nutrients for fetal growth and filters toxins harmful to the developing baby. It is dispelled from the woman’s body after birth. The practice of eating the placenta – which is typically eaten raw, cooked, drank in smoothies, or dehydrated into a capsule form – after birth has grown in popularity among some mothers who say that it improves breast milk supply, reduces postpartum bleeding, and prevents postpartum depression, among other advantages. However, in a study published Aug. 28 in the American...
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    Chow Line: The Chatter About Cheat Days

    My co-workers mentioned something about cheat days and weight loss during lunch today, but I’m not sure what they meant. What were they talking about? They likely were discussing a new study published this month that says taking a “cheat day” or short break from dieting may help some people lose weight. In the study published Sept. 19 in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers said that avoiding continuous dieting may aid some people in losing weight and in keeping the weight off. The study involved a group of 51 obese men who participated in a four-month diet that included restricting their calorie intake by one-third. Half of the participants stayed on the strict diet for the entire four-month period, while the other half maintained the strict diet...
  9. Image of woman looking in microscope.

    Ohio State Leads Effort to Prep Students for Biobased Careers

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Students at The Ohio State University and Central State University, a historically black university in Wilberforce, will soon benefit from a $2.8 million grant designed to develop leaders for the bioeconomy industry in Ohio and nationwide. Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is overseeing a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to create a consortium of 20 participating universities and industry partners. The grant is part of a three-year project to train the future workforce in the bioeconomy industry. The Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE) will be led by Ohio State, said Dennis Hall, director of Ohio State'...
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    Chow Line: App, Websites and Grocers offer Ways to Keep Abreast of Food Recalls

    Turns out that the hot dogs I had planned to make for lunch yesterday were recalled but I had no idea. Why do foods get recalled, and how can I be better aware of recalls on foods I’ve purchased? Typically, food recalls are a voluntary response from a food supplier or manufacturer when their product has been mislabeled or hazardous, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food mislabeling – such as listing the wrong ingredients, failing to declare allergens or offering misleading claims about the product – can pose a risk to consumers looking to avoid certain allergens (chemical hazards) or ingredients. Allergen mislabeling is the most common cause of food recalls in the U.S. Foods can also be recalled for containing foreign objects or physical...
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    Chow Line: Have Fun and Be Food Safe When Tailgating

    I’ve finally got tickets to the game this weekend, and we’re planning a huge tailgate. Are there any food safety precautions I should take before, during and after the game? One of the great things about fall and football season is tailgating. But just like picnicking on the beach or in a park, there are precautions you can take to ensure that your tailgate is a fun gathering for all that doesn’t result in a bout of foodborne illness for any of your guests. First things first – it’s important that you keep the food you plan to serve at the tailgate at a safe temperature between home (if you’re making your food there), the store or restaurant (if you’re buying prepared foods), and the tailgate location, advises the U.S. Department of...
  12. Pictured in the photo, from left to right, are 4-H members Molly Rubio and Madelyn Smith; and Theresa Ferrari, a 4-H youth development specialist with OSU Extension.

    4-H Opioid Display Offers Prevention and Drug Education for Ohioans

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – The traveling display created by 4-H members may seem innocuous enough – a simple pedestal sink with a mirrored medicine cabinet mounted above, similar to what could be seen in bathrooms in almost any home in the region. But the question accompanying the display – “What’s in your medicine cabinet?” – may not be as easy for some Ohioans to answer. Ohio now leads the nation in opioid-related overdose deaths with a record 4,050 drug overdose deaths reported in 2016, a 33 percent increase from 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Experts say misuse of prescription opioids is one of the strongest risk factors for starting heroin use, with three out of four new heroin user reporting abusing prescription opioids....
  13. The livesmartohio.osu.edu blog offers suggestions for ways to improve your finances, stress level, relationships and diet.

    Blog Offers Tips For Better Living

    Wondering how to better manage stress? Want to learn more about how to budget your finances to make sure your money lasts longer? What about gluten free eating? Answers to these questions and more are available through the Live Smart Ohio website which offers a consumer blog written by professionals with Ohio State University Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences that’s focused on promoting health and wellness statewide. The site, at livesmartohio.osu.edu, offers consumers research-based information on topics including money; food; mind and body; and family and relationships, all focused on helping Ohioans live smarter, said Amanda Woods, Healthy Finances program specialist for OSU Extension. The blog and website are designed to educate consumers on practical,...
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    Chow Line: Tips to Prevent Food Spoilage When the Power Goes Out

    Storm preparedness has been on my mind lately. I’m wondering what I can do to be ready in the event of a power outage to prevent the foods in my refrigerator from spoiling? One of the biggest factors in deciding whether the foods in your household will spoil during a power outage is the duration of the power loss. Generally speaking, perishable foods that have been in temperatures above 40 degrees for two hours or more will need to be discarded to avoid the potential for food borne illnesses. While you cannot control the duration of a power outage (unless you use a generator) there are some steps that you can take before the storm to prepare in the event that your power goes out. One way is to make sure that you have on hand a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not...
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    Chow Line: September Is Food Safety Month and Is a Good Time to Learn Practical Tips

    My dad absolutely hates to waste food, so he tends to keep leftovers until they smell bad. Until then, they are safe to eat, as far as he’s concerned. Is that true? No, not really. The bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses aren’t easily detectable to the naked eye nor by smell because these organisms do not affect the look, smell or taste of foods, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The safe storage time for leftovers depends on what foods are in question and also how the foods are stored. Generally, foods such as wet salads (egg, chicken, ham, tuna and macaroni) can be eaten safely up to five days after opening if stored correctly in a refrigerator. Foods like cooked meat or poultry and pizza are safe to eat within three to four days...
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    Chow Line: Healthy, Stress-free Packed Lunches for School Start With Planning and Preparation

    My kids go back to school next week and I’m already stressing about what to pack for their daily lunches. Do you have any suggestions about how to make the process easier and the lunches more healthy? Planning ahead is one way to take the stress out of packing healthy, nutritious lunches that your kids will enjoy. Before heading to the grocery store, plan a menu of what you want to pack in your kids’ lunches that week. Then, make a shopping list to ensure that you have what you need. When packing your kids’ lunches, try to include a whole grain (e.g., whole-grain bread, pita, tortilla or crackers), a protein (e.g., lean lunch meat, tuna, peanut butter or beans), some form of calcium (e.g., milk, cheese or yogurt), and fruits and vegetables (canned, fresh or frozen...
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    Chow Line: Careful: Some People Foods Just Aren’t Good For Dogs

    My dog loves to sit under the table during dinner near the kids’ chairs in hopes of finding tidbits that may fall from their plates. I’ve even given our dog portions of food from our meal. Is that ok? In some cases, no, it’s not a good idea to feed your dog some foods that come from your dinner table. In a recent notice from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, pet owners are reminded not to feed their dog some foods that are meant for human consumption. That’s because some foods people eat can be dangerous or even deadly for dogs, FDA says. The reason? An animal’s body processes food much differently than a human body, Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian at FDA, said in a written statement. “Our bodies may break down foods or other...
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    Chow Line: Blowing Out Candles on Birthday Cake Is Gross to Some, But Not Dangerous

    I’ve always felt grossed out when people blow out the candles on birthday cake and then everyone else eats the cake. Am I wrong to feel that way? Doesn’t that spread germs? Well, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Food Research, blowing out candles on a birthday cake does deposit bacteria onto the cake. The study found that on average, blowing out the candles on the cake increased the amount of bacteria on the cake’s frosting by 14 times. To determine whether bacteria are transferred through blowing out candles, the study authors created a model birthday cake by placing foil covered with cake icing on top of a Styrofoam base and placing candles on top. Test subjects then ate pizza and blew out the candles. The foil icing samples were then...
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    Chow Line: Use-By, Sell-By, Best-By Dates Don’t All Mean the Same Thing

    I bought a carton of milk and it says, “Sell by July 25,” but today is July 28. Is the milk still OK to drink? Does the sell-by date mean the food is no longer safe to eat? What about the use-by or best-by date? I’m so confused! Take heart. You’re not alone in your confusion. Most people aren’t sure what those date labels on food actually mean. In fact, more than a third of consumers throw away food once the date passes because they mistakenly think the date is an indicator of food safety, according to a recent study by the Harvard University Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. But for most foods, the date label is a manufacturer’s best guess as to how long the product will be at its peak quality. With...
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    Excessive Rain, Flooding, Ponding Damaging Some Ohio Crops

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – Record rain and extensive flooding and ponding have taken a toll on commodity fields across Ohio, leaving some growers facing diseased crops, the death of their plants and potential yield loss, according to agronomists in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University. Depending on the growth stage of corn crops stuck in waterlogged soils, some growers could experience a yield loss of over 10 percent in corn crops that experienced as few as two days of flooding, said Alexander Lindsey, an assistant professor of horticulture and crop science at Ohio State. Corn crops that are still in the vegetative growth stage and standing in waterlogged soils for longer than two days could experience up to a 50 percent yield loss,...
  21. Caution: Eating raw flour can make you sick. Photo: Thinkstock

    Chow Line: Don’t Eat Uncooked Flour

    Is it true that you can get sick from ingesting uncooked flour? While many people are well aware of the warnings against eating foods with raw eggs for fear of contracting salmonella or other foodborne illnesses, fewer people are aware of the dangers of eating uncooked flour. It too can cause a mean case of foodborne illness. In fact, eating raw dough or raw batter could make you sick, in part, because flour can contain bacteria that cause disease, according to a warning from the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent incidents in the U.S. and Canada underscore the issue. Between December 2015 and September 2016, some 63 people across the U.S. developed an E. coli infection after eating raw flour. And in Canada, 30...
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    Chow Line: Reusable Water Bottles Need to Be Washed Between Uses

    I heard recently that reusable water bottles can sometimes be a hotbed of germs. Is that true? Yes, at least according to a recent analysis from Treadmill Reviews that found that unwashed reusable water bottles could harbor significantly high levels of bacteria that are harmful to humans. In fact, the report goes as far as to say that “drinking from the average refillable bottle can be many times worse than licking your dog’s toy.” According to the study, the average athlete’s water bottle has 313,499 colony-forming units, or CFUs, of bacteria per square centimeter while the average pet toy has 2,937 CFUs. Yuck. The study, which was performed by EmLab P&K, a New Jersey-based environmental testing firm, analyzed 12 types of water bottles and found...
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    Ohio State Researchers: Eating Tomatoes May Protect Against Skin Cancer

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Could eating a tomato a day help keep skin cancer away — or at least lessen the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancers? Researchers at The Ohio State University think the answer is maybe, based on promising results of a new study of how nutritional interventions can modulate the risk for skin cancers in mice. The study, published in the July 11 edition of Scientific Reports, found that mice fed tomatoes daily over 35 weeks and exposed to ultraviolet light experienced a 50 percent decrease in developing skin cancer tumors compared to mice that didn’t consume tomatoes. The theory is that dietary carotenoids, the pigmenting compounds that give tomatoes their color, may protect skin against UV light damage, said Jessica Cooperstone, co-author...
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    Chow Line: Eating Healthy at the Amusement Park

    My friends and I are planning to spend the day at an amusement park. Do you have any tips on how to avoid the sugar and calorie overload and eat as healthy as possible while there? Amusement parks can still be a fun, wonderful way to enjoy a summer day without overindulging in the sugary, deep-fried, calorie-laden foods that the parks are traditionally known for. Despite the temptation to feast on mounds of cotton candy, deep-fried candy bars, funnel cakes, snow cones, chili cheese fries and, of course, those infamous giant turkey legs, you can have nutritious foods and drinks at the park that taste good and are better for your health. One of the best ways to eat healthy at the park is to pack some nutritious meals to bring with you. While many amusement parks won’t let...
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    Chow Line: Safe, Healthier Options for Picnics

    I’m planning to pack a picnic for our 4th of July celebration in the park. To save time, can I partially cook the ribs at home and finish cooking them later on the grill during the picnic? While it’s understandable that you’d want to save time by partially cooking your meats before heading to the park, doing so could result in a case of foodborne illness. This is because partial cooking does not destroy bacteria that can cause illness. The added heat during partial cooking can allow these bacteria to grow to unsafe levels. A safer option is to fully cook the meats to a safe internal temperature on the grill at the picnic. You should also use a meat thermometer to judge the doneness of the meat — don’t rely on the color of the food as an indicator of...

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