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Category: May 2017

Sorghum: An Old Player in a New World

From animal feed to gluten-free foods, sorghum is becoming a star ingredient.

Sorghum is a staple food in African, Asian, and South American diets. In the U.S. it is typically found in animal feed or made into ethanol.

But sorghum is becoming a popular food item in American diets. It contains 10 grams of protein per half cup serving. It is also a good source of fiber, antioxidants and is gluten-free. It is the latter that has landed sorghum into many American diets.

Using sorghum in gluten-free foods has helped those with Celiac disease or other medically diagnosed reasons to avoid gluten. It helps increase whole grain consumption in gluten-free diets.

Sorghum also decreases insulin and glycemic responses compared to corn and rice. While sorghum has a lower glycemic index than wheat, sorghum syrup does not.

Antioxidants in sorghum help prevent cell and DNA damage. Many studies have shown the potential of sorghum to decrease certain cancer risks. While it may not be the cure to cancer, it certainly is a healthy addition to the diet.

Toss cooked sorghum into soups or salads, use in place of oatmeal for breakfast, or pop it like popcorn!



Preserve It & Serve It

The University of Georgia has a new children’s guide to canning, freezing, drying, pickling and preparing snacks with preserved foods.

The book teaches the basics of preserving with boiling water canning, freezing, refrigerating, quick pickling and drying. Step-by-step methods are illustrated and several child-friendly recipes are provided for using each of the preserved foods. Activities are intended to be carried out with adult supervision. Preserved foods include canned applesauce, canned strawberry jam, refrigerator or canned pickles, frozen berries, and dried fruit, tomato slices and applesauce rolled leather. The book is available for sale at the UGA Extension Publication Store.


Listeriosis in Hispanic Pregnant Women

Pregnant Woman
Cooking and pasteurization can destroy Listeria, thus reducing food safety risks.

While all pregnant women are at risk in getting listeriosis, Hispanic women are at an increased risk due to consuming certain Hispanic foods.

Pregnant women have an altered immune system which also impacts their unborn babies. Many Hispanic dairy products are made with unpasteurized milk. These dairy foods include Mexican soft cheeses like Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco. When made with unpasteurized milk, Listeria may survive and cause illness. In some cases, the mother may abort their baby.

The Food and Drug Administration has put together a community educator’s guide to help educate pregnant Hispanic women of the risks. The program has many tools and materials in English and Spanish.

Learn more about this program at

New Hours for USDA Hotline

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has expanded their hours to better serve consumers across the U.S.

To speak to a food safety expert, the hotline hours are now 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST. The hotline also has a 24-hour online service called “Ask Karen” that answers thousands of questions via email or live-chat. This service is available in English or Spanish.

Contact the hotline at 1-888-674-6854 for your food safety questions.

The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has been answering food safety questions since 1985.


Spend Smart. Eat Smart. App

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.The Spend Smart. Eat Smart website from Iowa State University is now available as a mobile app! The brand new, free mobile app puts healthy eating and cost saving tools in the palm of your hand at the grocery store.

  • Unit Price Calculator: You will never have to wonder which product is a better buy again. The calculator will do unit price calculations with ease.
  • Produce Basics: Review nutrition, selection, storage, cleaning and preparation information for a wide variety of fresh produce.
  • Recipe Finder: Keep track of your favorite recipes from the website.

Download for free today from your app store!


National Women’s Health Week

National Women's Health WeekMay 14-20, 2017 is designated as National Women’s Health Week led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The purpose of this celebration is to empower women to make their health a priority and take steps to improve their health.

The theme for this event is “Your health at every age.” At any age, the basics to improve your health include well-woman checkups; preventive health screenings; being physically active; eating a healthful diet; being mindful of mental health; and avoiding unhealthy behaviors.

Learn how to participate in National Women’s Health Week at


A Flash of Food Safety

A Flash of Food Safety is an educational video series designed to help busy school nutrition professionals understand and practically apply safe food practices. The videos, available in English and Spanish, address five food safety topics: Handwashing: Why to Wash Your Hands; Handwashing: How to Wash Your Hands; Calibrating a Thermometer: Ice Water Method; Calibrating a Thermometer: Boiling Water Method; and Active Cooling with a Chill Stick.

Each “flash” video is 2-4 minutes long – perfect for onsite training!

Employees can earn 15 minutes (1/4 hour) of continuing education for Professional Standards when they watch all five videos in the series.


MyPlate, MyState

MyPlateThe newest tool in MyPlate, MyWins is MyPlate, MyState. It asks you: What foods, flavors, and recipes is your state/territory known for, and how do they fit into your healthy eating style?

The goals of this new portion if include:

  • Connect people with local farmers and farmers markets
  • Support local and regional agriculture
  • Celebrate homegrown pride, foods, and recipes
  • Motivate Americans towards healthier eating and living
  • Bring communities together

Learn more at


Choosing Fruits and Vegetables

Sweet cornThe debate continues as to which fruits and vegetables are nutritionally better for you as in fresh, frozen or canned. Many people struggle to find fresh produce. So what choices are available for best nutritional value?

A recent study looked at fresh, fresh-stored, and frozen fruits and vegetables. Fresh-stored is defined as fresh produce stored at home for five days. Frozen produce is commonly viewed by consumers as nutritionally low.

This study evaluated three nutrients in a variety of produce. They included vitamin C, provitamin A, and total folate. In the end, there were no significant differences in a majority of the comparisons. But, in some cases, the fresh-stored foods had lower nutrient values. Frozen produce had significantly higher nutrient values.

In the end, minimal storage time of fresh produce will help retain nutrients. Frozen foods are a tasty, and even more nutritious choice, and for some foods, available year round.