IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS Extension to host cottage food law workshop on Oct. 10

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

Gainesville, Fla.— Do you have a passion for cooking and want to invest your ideas in a home-based food business? The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension offers helpful information at the “Understanding Florida Cottage Food Law” workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Oct. 10.

Anyone who is interested in running his/her own cottage food operation in Florida can attend the one-day workshop at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center, 2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville, Fla., 32611.

The “Understanding Florida Cottage Food Law” workshop will provide participants with general information on food safety and quality, product development, and regulatory requirements for Florida cottage food operation.

The registration fee for the course is $75 (If registered by Sep 30th, the fee will be $60). Registration includes course materials, lunch, coffee breaks and certificate of completion. Register at http://uf-cottage-food.eventbrite.com

For more information, contact Dr. Soo Ahn at sahn82@ufl.edu or 352-294-3909.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

Source: Soo Ahn, 352-294-3909, sahn82@ufl.edu

 

UF/IFAS researcher wins grant to try to manipulate iron absorption in at-risk people

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

James Collins

James Collins

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — People with too much iron in their bodies can develop serious illnesses. So University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher James Collins plans to use a $2.5 million grant to begin to regulate iron absorption in the intestines.

Intestinal iron absorption is important because humans have no way to excrete excess iron. This inability to get rid of excess iron can create a condition known as “iron overload.” It can lead to cardiac issues, cancer, diabetes and a slew of other illnesses, Collins said.

People with genetic iron-overload disorders, or hemochromatosis, could eventually benefit from the research that Collins and his team will conduct.

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UF/IFAS-led team finds faster, better way to detect salmonella in meat, chicken

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, New Technology, Research, Safety

2013 Small Farms Conference on Friday, August 2nd.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Please see caption at end of story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A team of scientists led by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers has found a faster and more precise way to detect salmonella in beef and chicken, a finding that could help prevent major illnesses.

Salmonella is the lauding cause of bacteria-associated foodborne illnesses in the United States, according to the study. Thus, early detection of the pathogen, by a rapid and sensitive test is important to prevent the illness.

In a newly published study, researchers artificially contaminated food with salmonella. They then tested the food samples using Salmonella-specific antibodies combined with a unique signal amplification technique. Their test found salmonella present after 15 hours and removed other microorganisms that sometimes clutter laboratory results. This is shorter than the two to three days it takes to detect salmonella in a culture, the study shows.

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‘Local food opinion leaders’ can help bridge gap between farmers, consumers

Topic(s): Agriculture, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

Buying and selling at an outdoor farmers' market

Please see caption below story.
“GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As consumers increasingly desire local food, opinion leaders can encourage others to eat healthier food and, in doing so, improve the local economy, according to new University of Florida Food and Agricultural Sciences research.

“Opinion leaders” are those who influence others via the respect they earn from those around them, said Alexa Lamm, associate director of the UF Center for Public Issues Education (PIE Center) and the leader of this research.

“Opinion leaders could be critical in bridging the gap between locally grown food and consumers. That’s important because local food sales totaled $6.1 million in 2012, up $1.3 million in four years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But another study showed only 7.8 percent of U.S. farms targeted local consumers.

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UF/IFAS study: Few people know mushrooms’ health benefits

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

 

Variety Mushrooms at the farmers market downtown union street market.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Relatively few people are aware of the health benefits of mushrooms, according to a new national survey by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers.

Only 18.5 percent of survey respondents said they knew the health benefits of mushrooms, according to the online survey of 674 consumers.

“Potentially, increasing knowledge about health benefits would be useful to the mushroom industry,” said Lisa House, a UF/IFAS professor of food and resource economics and an investigator for the study.

Sue Percival, a UF/IFAS professor and chair of the department of food science and human nutrition and principal investigator for the study, published a study last year that documented how shiitake mushrooms can boost immunity. They’re also low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and they’re the leading source of the antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle, according to the National Mushroom Council.

The study, to be presented at a national conference next week, revealed many other clues about consumers’ mushroom-buying habits.

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UF/IFAS expert offers food safety tips for new school year

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS

Kids in a school cafeteria to promote the My Plate and YUM nutrition programs.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As your child returns to school next month, you can help him or her eat safely at school. You also can count on federal, state and local officials to be trained to make sure your child’s school meals are safe, says a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences food safety researcher.

Amy Simonne, a professor and food safety Extension specialist in family, youth and community sciences at UF/IFAS, gives these school food-safety tips:

Keep cold lunches cold and hot lunches hot. Discard the food after lunch.

  • Keep everything clean: Before you start packing lunches, wash your hands with soap and warm water. “That’s the minimum they can do,” she said.

 

  • Don’t cross-contaminate: Harmful bacteria can spread through the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils and countertops. Always wash cutting board, dishes, utensils and countertops.
  • Pack just the amount of perishable food that can be eaten at lunchtime.Find out more at http://bit.ly/1uw0wUy.

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UF/IFAS Extension to host cottage industry expo for local food entrepreneurs

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS

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WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Have you ever dreamed of selling your own cheese or marketing your grandmother’s jam recipe? Budding entrepreneurs are invited to the first annual Tampa Bay Cottage Industry Expo to hear experts from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and industry professionals present on topics such as food safety, production and marketing.

The expo is set for July 30 at Wiregrass Ranch High School, 2909 Mansfield Boulevard, Wesley Chapel, Florida, and will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The goal of the event is to help people tackle the challenges that come with starting a cottage food business, said Whitney Elmore, UF/IFAS Extension Pasco County director. “We want to help people get into the industry while avoiding some of the big mistakes that might be a hindrance to their success,” she said.

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UF/IFAS, Pinellas Sheriff’s office create urban farms in Pinellas County

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition

Loften Center students learning about gardening and nutrition on Thursday, May 21st, 2015.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.— Residents in a county on Florida’s Gulf Coast are getting the help they need to access healthier foods via a collaboration between the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and the Pinellas Sheriff’s Police Athletic League. The two entities have teamed up to create an urban farm in Pinellas County.

Urban farms promote an abundance of food for people in need while raising awareness of health and wellness. “It is an opportunity to teach families and children the values of nutrition and establish a level of commerce for produce distribution,” said Mark Trujillo, a public health regional specialist for UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program.

Trujillo introduced the executive director of the Pinellas Sheriff’s PAL, Neil Brickfield, to an empty U-Pick farm in Lealman, Florida, Pinellas County. After discovering the potential that the farm had to help the county, Brickfield then began to work with UF/IFAS to identify the needs of the farm and community.

Because Lealman, Florida is considered a food desert, the idea of an urban farm was essential for the area, Trujillo said. According to Brickfield, the citizens in Lealman are more than a mile from a local grocery store. “So, the urban farm is an opportunity for people to have fresh produce readily available,” Brickfield said.

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UF survey shows most Floridians want to know more about genetically modified foods

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, New Technology, Nutrition, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While almost half of Floridians acknowledge buying genetically modified foods, a recent survey by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida reveals that most people want to know much more about those foods.

“The study shows that Floridians believe they don’t know much about genetically modified foods and their benefits,” said Joy Rumble, assistant professor in agricultural education and communication at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Many people are favorable to supporting research, and they think it’s essential that government support it. Floridians see a place for GM foods, but they do have hesitations.”

The PIE Center surveyed 500 Floridians on their perceptions of genetically modified foods. Respondents were largely unsure about the potential benefits of genetically modified food, with more than 40 percent neither agreeing nor disagreeing that food technology such as GMOs allows people to live longer or better lives.

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Survey: Most Floridians concerned about food waste, safety

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Nutrition, Research

Displays of fresh vegetables and produce. Photo taken 10-01-15.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Often without much thought, Americans throw out more than one-third of all food grown in the United States each year. However, a majority of Floridians acknowledge food waste is a major concern.

­­­Sixty percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they are concerned about food waste in their household, according to a recent food waste survey of 500 Florida residents conducted by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. The PIE Center is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

It was also discovered through the survey that fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products most often go to waste. Oppositely, beverages, spices and seafood are the food items that go to waste least.

The survey also captured public perceptions on food safety.

Results from the survey revealed that 42 percent of Floridians feel that food safety is a major concern and 68 percent feel responsible for their own food safety.

(more …)

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