You Asked It!

Category: February 2019

Be the MVP of your Super Bowl Party!

Photo: USDA Flickr

The big game is almost here and it’s time for a party! And where there’s a party, there’s food! Be the MVP of your party with these food safety tips:

Clean: Prepare for the win!

  • Start by washing your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds.
  • Wash and sanitize all dishware and utensils.

Separate: Your best defense!

  • Keep raw meat and poultry away from ready-to-eat foods.
  • Use a clean utensil for each dish.
  • Use a clean plate when going for second helpings of food.

Cook: A game winner!

  • Use a food thermometer to check for doneness
  • All poultry—165°F
  • Burgers and sliders—160°F
  • Soup and reheated foods—165°F

Chill: Don’t let the clock expire!

  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
  • Put out food in batches.
  • Follow the 2-hour rule.

Don’t Wing It

Chicken wings have become a popular snack at many game day parties. The Partnership for Food Safety Education has some new resources to help keep those tasty wings safe to eat.

The Don’t Wing It campaign includes a short video; brochures for parents and seniors; an infographic; and some tasty recipes using chicken and turkey. There are many resources in Spanish.

Learn more about the Don’t Wing It Campaign and share their resources at


Working to Reduce Food Waste

Fresh Food In Garbage Can To Illustrate Waste

Did you know that of the total waste that ends up in landfills, 21 percent is food waste? Because of this, food is the primary contributor to total U.S. methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas, that comes from landfills.

So what do you do to reduce food waste? What does your community do to reduce food waste?

The challenge to reduce food waste starts with every consumer. Start by buying only the groceries you need. Making a weekly menu plan and creating a shopping list can help.

Store foods properly. Do you have a thermometer in your refrigerator or freezer? This can help you monitor your appliance and can help determine food safety if the power goes out. Keep foods covered to prevent cross-contamination and reduced food quality.

Learn more about how you and your community can help reduce food waste at


At-Home Safe Food Handling: It’s in Your Hands

You…yes YOU…are in control of safely handling and preparing food in your home. The home is the final stop in the farm-to-table continuum. So be proactive and take charge of your food!

The publication At-Home Safe Food Handling: It’s in Your Hands (MF2465)has been updated to help you safely prepare and handle food. It covers the topics of shopping, storing, preparing, cooking, serving, and leftovers. It includes storage charts and cooking temperature guidelines.

Use this to help you safely prepare and serve food to your family.

Most instances of foodborne illness can be prevented by using safe food handling practices at home.


Could Quinoa be a Fountain of Youth?

Quinoa is known as a superfood because it is a complete protein and has positive effects on metabolism and energy balance. Now research from Rutgers University and North Carolina State University, has found that quinoa could slow down the aging process.

The research study used a nematode worm, C. elegans, which has a short lifespan but age comparably to humans. They found improvements in lifespan, locomotor function, and mitochondrial bioenergetics. They found reductions in body fat and advanced glycation end products which worsen degenerative disease such as diabetes, kidney disease and Alzheimer’s disease. They also found lower reactive oxygen species, or oxygen radicals, which can damage DNA, RNA, and proteins leading to cell death.

More research and clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.



Is it Safe to Home Can Ham or other Cured Meat?

Spiral cut ham. Photo: USDA Flickr

There are no science-based instructions to home can cured, brined or corned meats. Here is some information from Clemson University Extension.

“The texture of some cured, brined and corned meats is firmer than that of fresh meats; thus, heat penetration into the cured, brined or corned products might be more difficult. That would mean the process time would need to be longer and using the process for fresh meats would result in potentially unsafe product. Curing can make meat drier than fresh meat or can leave it with a higher salt level, then covering liquid could be absorbed into the flesh and penetration of heat into the meat would be much more difficult. Again, using the process for fresh meats would result in potentially unsafe product. On the other hand, adding salt, nitrite, nitrate and/or antimicrobial agents like nisin makes Clostridium botulinum more susceptible to heat and the required process time for some cured meats could be shorter. If so, using the fresh meat process would result in an overcooked product. Research on each product would be needed to determine a safe canning process.”


National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week®

Connecting students with science-based facts about drugs and alcohol. That is the goal for National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® to be held January 22-27, 2019.

Did you know? A 2017 survey found 14% of students reported the use of non-prescription opioids. Another 2017 survey of teens revealed that daily marijuana use has become more popular than daily cigarette smoking.

For resources and information about this event, see

This event helps connect teens with what science has discovered and taught us about drug use and addiction.


Got Pain or Inflammation? Eat a Banana!

Playing sports or general exercising can cause pain and inflammation. Many reach for a sports drink or an over-the-counter drug for relief. But, what if there was a food that can help both issues?

Initial research conducted at the North Carolina Research Campus has found that bananas can relieve pain and inflammation just as well. Bananas eaten during exercise are equal to sports drinks and they contain metabolites that function like ibuprofen. Dopamine is one primary molecule that acts like a COX-2 inhibitor, but there are other compounds that are adding to this effect.  They also found that banana peels contains 50 times more dopamine and could be incorporated into food products. More research is needed to verify these results.



Making Plant-based Milk

Milk and yogurt made from soy Photo: USDA Flickr

Coconut milk is the oldest form of plant-based milk from India and Southeast Asia. Soy milk was discovered in 1365 in China. Today, many forms of plant-based milk are available including almond, rice, and oat. So how are they made?

Growing and harvesting conditions can greatly affect the final product. Climate, soil, other vegetation and storage of harvested products are crucial to the final product.

Two methods are used, a wet or dry processing method. The wet process involves soaking the product up to 12 hours to soften the product. Then they are rinsed, drained, and ground into a puree or paste. Enzymes may be added to improve grinding and texture. The liquid is heated and homogenized to inactivate enzymes and reduce separation. Dry processing involves milling first, then the protein is isolated or concentrated to make a beverage.

Finally, water, flavors, vitamins, minerals, and stabilizers or thickeners are added. The entire product is heated for safety.

Many of these beverages are being used in blends such as with coffee to meet market trends.

Source: Food Technology, December 2018


2019 National Festival of Breads

Save the date! The 2019 National Festival of Breads will be held on June 8, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, KS.

This year, the contest will feature two categories. One is designated for food bloggers who are actively blog about wheat foods and yeast bread. The second category is for home bakers. A new feature this year will be LIVE judging! Come watch the judging process, hear the comments from judges, and find out who wins!

More information about the events that day will be announced soon. Details can be found at or on Facebook @NationalFestivalOfBreads.