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Category: July 2018

Reducing Food Waste

Fresh Food In Garbage Can To Illustrate Waste

The Kansas State University Pollution Prevention Institute has formed a partnership with the Kansas Alliance for Wellness to present three upcoming workshops on minimizing food waste and keeping unused food out of local landfills.

The workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • June 14 – Salina Public Library.
  • June 21 – Iola courthouse.
  • June 28 – Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.

There is no cost to attend and lunch will be provided. Please register in advance at

The workshops follow a train-the-trainer approach, allowing participants to learn more about what they can do to address food issues in their community. Organizers say the training will follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s hierarchy of food recovery, which includes donating food to food-insecure populations as one of its top solutions.

The workshop also will include training on strategic communications, including advocacy, marketing and messaging, which can be used to conduct public campaigns aimed at food system policies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service provided funding for these workshops.

For more information or questions, contact Barb Goode at or 785-452-9456.


NIH Body Weight Planner

The NIH Body Weight Planner (BWP) has moved from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) SuperTracker webpage to the NIDDK website at the new link

The BWP is a free, interactive tool developed by NIDDK researchers that can help people create physical activity and calorie plans to reach their goal weight and maintain it afterward. The tool uses science-based technology to tailor recommendations to individual users and accurately calculate how their bodies adjust to changes in diet and physical activity.

If you have not yet tried the Body Weight Planner, we invite you to visit the new page to practice using the tool. A short instructional video can be found at


The Hot Spot of Hot Peppers

MG Capsaicin per KG of Jalapeno Pepper Outside flesh—5 mg Seeds—73 mg Pith/membrane—512 mg

If you eat foods with hot peppers, you likely know the spiciness, or heat, can vary a lot.

The heat comes from a group of compounds called capsaicinoids, including the well known capsaicin. This fiery compound causes “chemesthesis” in which the receptors inside the mouth react to pain, touch, and heat. Some may call it pain, others call it pleasure.

Chile pepper varieties have a varying amount of heat and can also be quite different within the same variety. Growing conditions will also determine heat in peppers. If the plant is stressed, the peppers will produce more capsaicin.

The pith, or white membrane, contains a majority of the heat from capsaicin. Simply cut out the pith, as well as the seeds, to cool down the heat. Save these to add back to a recipe if more heat is desired. The size of pepper makes little difference in heat pungency.

Source: The Science of Good Cooking, Cook’s Illustrated


Does Pectin Expire?

In a word, yes.

It is not a food safety issue. It is a quality issue. If pectin is past the expiration date on the package, the product made with this pectin will not gel or work as it should. This is true for both liquid and dry pectin.

Dry pectin is made from citrus peel. Liquid pectin is made from apples. They are not interchangeable in recipes. For best results, use the type of pectin listed in the recipe.

The ripeness of fruit will affect the gelling properties. Under-ripe or over-ripe can affect how a jam or jelly gels.


Consumer Food Safety Education Conference—2019

The Partnership for Food Safety Education is hosting the seventh Consumer Food Safety Education Conference on March 6-9, 2019 in Orlando, FL. The theme for this conference is From Consumers to Chefs: Food Safety Education Matters. Learn more and sign up for email updates at Abstract submission for conference tracks opens June 21, 2018. See

It’s Melon Season! Serve Them Safe!

Summer and fresh, juicy melons are a perfect match! Whether you grow them or buy from somewhere else, handling and prepping them safely at home is important.

It is easy to forget that melons grow on the ground. They are exposed to pests and microorganisms from the soil. Here are some tips to safely prepare your melon.

  • Select a melon with no imperfections. Damage to rinds can cause mold growth or other bacteria to travel to the inside of the melon.
  • Before cutting the melon, wash your hands. Be sure equipment and utensils are clean and sanitized, including your sink.
  • Place the melon under running water and scrub the outside rind with a produce brush.
  • Cut the melon and rinse the pieces as you go. Serve immediately. Store any cut melon leftovers in the refrigerator.

How to Prepare a Melon—video by Iowa State University at


Judging Foods and Food Preservation at Fairs

County fair season is just days away! Are you going to be a foods judge at a fair? Or are you entering foods at the fair?

If you are new to judging or need a refresher, there are many resources and two videos to help you get prepared to judge. There are also links to the scorecards to help guide your judging decisions.

These are also good resources to review if you are entering your projects in the fair.

Learn more at


The Changes are Coming to Nutrition Facts

The Food and Drug Administration is updating the Nutrition Facts label and changes will be required starting Jan. 1, 2020. The updates include:

  • Added sugars will have a separate line directly under “Total Sugars.”
  • Serving sizes are based on what people actually eat at one time. These figures are being updated for the first time since 1993.
  • Calories will be more noticeable in bigger and bolder font, you can’t miss them.
  • Updated Daily Values reflects how much of the nutrient is needed in a 2,000-calorie diet. Five percent is considered low, 20 percent is considered high.

Sources: and


What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems like

  • Showerheads and sink faucets
  • Cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralized air cooling systems for building or industrial processes)
  • Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
  • Decorative fountains and water features
  • Hot water tanks and heaters
  • Large plumbing systems
  • Grocery store mist machines.

After Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in.

Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidently goes into the lungs while drinking.

Learn more at and


Evaluating Artisan Bread

Artisan, or hearth, breads have some characteristics that make them unique. Here are some tips to evaluate these breads.

Aspect—Feel the weight, it should be appropriate for its size. Are the cuts on top open to allow expansion? Scoring will dictate the interior structure and visual appearance. The color should be golden, and darkly burnished is not always best.

Crumb Structure—Baguettes will have some marble-sized holes along with smaller holes. The cell walls will look translucent.

Flavor—This is a combination of the crust flavor and interior flavor. One should not overpower the other.

Balance—Sour flavor notes from fermentation should balance with malty notes. Browning from Maillard reactions should be balanced with interior flavors and added ingredients.

Texture—This varies by bread type and is the contrast of the crust and interior. It may be chewy, tender, tender, crispy, moist or dry.