- Author: Rose Marie Hayden-Smith
Happy summer! It's time to get the barbecue grilling and the pool party started. To keep your summer healthy and fun, UC ANR offers some important safety tips.
Food poisoning is a serious health threat in the United States, especially during the hot summer months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a foodborne illness each year, resulting in thousands of hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Both the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest four key rules to follow to stay food safe:
- Clean: Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water while preparing food. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water.
- Separate: Separate raw meats from other foods by using different cutting boards. And be sure to keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs away from other items in your refrigerator.
- Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature; be sure to check internal temperature by using a food thermometer.
- Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.
Here are some additional tips from the USDA. Be sure to check out the CDC's comprehensive food safety website, which also has materials in both Spanish and English. For food safety tips in real time, follow USDA Food Safety on Twitter.
Summer also means more outside grilling, which can pose unique food safety concerns. Before firing up the barbecue, check out these five easy tips from UC Davis.
Handling food safety on the road
Before you take off on a road trip, camping adventure or boating excursion, don't forget to consider food safety. You'll need to plan ahead and invest in a good cooler.
Remember, warns the USDA, don't let food sit out for more than one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F. And discard any food left out more than two hours; after only one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees F.
If there are any doubts about how long the food was out, it is best to throw it out!
Get more food safety tips for traveling from the USDA.
Avoid heat illness
“Summer can be a time for fun and relaxation, but in warm climates, we need to stay aware of the signs of heat illness and help keep our family members and co-workers safe,” says Brian Oatman, director of Risk & Safety Services at UC ANR.
“UC ANR provides comprehensive resources on our website, but it's designed around California requirements for workplace safety.” But, Oatman notes, much of the information applies.
“The training and basic guidance – drink water, take a rest when you are feeling any symptoms and having a shaded area available – are useful for anyone at any time.”
To increase your awareness of heat illness symptoms – and to learn more about prevention – Oatman suggests a few resources.
“Our Heat Illness Prevention page has many resources, including links for training, heat illness prevention plans, and links to other sites. One of the external sites for heat illness that I recommend is the Cal/OSHA site, which spells out the basic requirements for heat illness prevention in the workplace. It's also available in Spanish."
For those on the go, Oatman also recommends the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mobile heat safety app.
- Author: Cris L. Johnson
The $101 million in grant money will be apportioned to promote two areas:
- $55 million in specialty crop block grants to state that fund 748 initiatives to strengthen markets and expand economic opportunities for local and regional producers.
- $46 million to support new and continuing research and extension activities to address challenges and opportunities for growers and businesses that rely on a sustainable, profitable specialty crops industry.
Specialty crops include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, floriculture and nursery crops.
The key research areas for funding are:
- Improving crop charactistics through plant breeding, genetics and genomics
- Addressing threats from pests and diseases
- Improving production efficiency, productivity and profitabilitiy
- Developing new innovations and technologies
- Developing methods to improve food safety
These grants reflect the continuing efforts by the USDA to stimulate agriculture and food based economic development. UC Ventura County Cooperative Extension and statewide extension in turn provides the research, outreach and expertise to local and potential growers seeking specialty niches in agriculture.
Find out more about this grant program and read the USDA news release in its entirety here.
- Author: Cris L. Johnson
The University of California Cooperative Extension in Ventura County in conjunction with the USDA's Risk Management Agency will conduct presentations and simulations on managing risk for farm operations.
The prepaid cost (by Friday September 21) is $20 per farm/ranch couple. After September 21 the cost will be $25. The registration fee includes lunch and instructional materials.
For more information go directly to the registration webpage.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
USDA’s Growing A Nation: The Story of America Agriculture is an amazing resource.
In addition to general timelines and statistical information from the 1700’s through 2000, there is an assortment of videos and audio clips including:
- Author: Chris M. Webb
The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov website is full of great information, including sample menus and recipes.
- The Sample Menus for a 2000 Calorie Food Pattern is a 7-day healthy eating template. It is designed to supply the recommended amount of key nutrients. Even better, the food choices were chosen with cost to the consumer in mind. The cost of the menu items is less than the national average spent on food, per person, in a 4-person family.
- White House Recipes is a collection of healthy recipes with easy to follow instructions. Recipes include: Warm Baked Apples with Dried Cherries; Raisins and Blueberries; Broccoli Soup; and Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
- Food Group Recipes is another wonderful collection of recipes with nutrition in mind. Recipes include: Lemon Velvet Supreme; Corn Chowder; Roasted Root Vegetables; and Outtasight Salad.
- SNAP-Ed Connection Recipe Finderis a fantastic resource. This online collection includes: tips, food safety, and the ability to sort recipes by a wide range of categories. Recipes can be searched by: style, cooking equipment required, menu items, themes, nutrients, and cost.