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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS researcher continues quest for peanut that won’t cause allergic reaction

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

Wade Yang, an assistant professor in UF?s food science and human nutrition department, left, and graduate student Sandra Shriver, use pulsed ultraviolet light to reduce allergens in peanuts in Yang's laboratory in Gainesville, Fla., on April 15, 2011. The technique has been shown to significantly reduce the allergenic potential of peanuts by up to 90 percent. IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist has moved one step closer to his goal of eliminating 99.9 percent of peanut allergens by removing 80 percent of them in whole peanuts.

Scientists must eliminate peanut allergens below a certain threshold for patients to be safe, said Wade Yang, an assistant professor in food science and human nutrition and member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

If Yang can cut the allergens from 150 milligrams of protein per peanut to below 1.5 milligrams, 95 percent of those with peanut allergies would be safe. It’s challenging to eliminate all peanut allergens, he said, because doing so may risk destroying peanuts’ texture, color, flavor and nutrition. But he said he’s using novel methods like pulsed light to reach an allergen level that will protect most people.

Yang, whose study is published online in this month’s issue of the journal Food and Bioprocess Technology, cautioned that he has done peanut allergen experiments only in a laboratory setting so far. He hopes to eventually conduct clinical trials on animals and humans.

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Don’t drink the (warm) water left in a plastic bottle, UF/IFAS study says

Topic(s): Food Safety, IFAS, Safety

Water bottle toxin news release images.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Americans can take a warning from a University of Florida study of bottled water in China ─ don’t drink the liquid if you’ve left it somewhere warm for a long time.

Plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate. When heated, the material releases the chemicals antimony and bisphenol A, commonly called BPA.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said BPA is not a major concern at low levels found in beverage containers, it continues to study the chemical’s impacts. Some health officials, including those at the Mayo Clinic, say the chemical can cause negative effects on children’s health.

And antimony is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

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New videos from UF/IFAS Communications

Topic(s): Announcements, Finances, Food Safety, Landscaping, Research, Uncategorized

UF/IFAS Communications has a slew of new videos that can be used for Extension or other educational purposes. Here is a roundup:

Vacation on a Budget -  (3:31) A fun family vacation does not have to break the bank – University of Florida/IFAS Financial Expert Dr. Michael Gutter explains how to have fun in the sun without going in the red.

Scallop Harvesting 101 (3:00)  Scallop season is underway in Florida. Betty Staugler with UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension, has some tips to help get you started.

Operation: Protect Our Pets – When Fleas Attack – (5:11) In this installment, UF/IFAS Entomologist Faith Oi addresses the different stages of the flea life cycle while UF Veterinarian Dunbar Gram demonstrates using a flea comb to look for fleas. (more …)

UF/IFAS study: Some consumers confuse ‘local’ with ‘organic’ food

Topic(s): Conservation, Crops, Economics, Environment, Food Safety, Nutrition

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With more people buying local and organic food, consumers should know the difference between the two so they recognize what they’re buying, but nearly one in five still confuse the terms, a University of Florida researcher says.

Newly published research, done in partnership with three other universities, aims to help local and organic food producers and sellers target their marketing messages to reinforce or dispel consumers’ perceptions. The organic-food industry has spent millions of dollars building brand awareness, only to see some consumers confuse “organic” food with “local” food products, said Ben Campbell, a University of Connecticut extension economist and the study’s lead author.

Hayk Khachatryan, a UF food and resource economics assistant professor, worked with Campbell and others to survey 2,511 people online in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 and found 17 percent thought the terms were interchangeable, the study said.

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UF/IFAS finds way to reduce E. coli in cows, improving food safety

Topic(s): Agriculture, Food Safety, Livestock, Research, Safety

 

K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

K.C. Jeong, an assistant professor of animal sciences at UF/IFAS, led the study.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new biological treatment could help dairy cattle stave off uterine diseases and eventually may help improve food safety for humans, a University of Florida study shows.

Kwang Cheol Jeong, an assistant professor in animal sciences and UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, examined cattle uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria, he said. The UF researchers did their experiments in labs and at the Dairy Unit on the Gainesville campus.

Jeong and his research team infused chitosan microparticles ─ an antimicrobial material derived from dissolved shrimp shells ─ into diseased cow uteri. When bought in stores, chitosan can be used to treat many ailments from obesity to anemia. On its own, chitosan only works at acidic pH levels, Jeong said. For cattle, Jeong’s team developed chitosan microparticles, which work in acidic and neutral pH, because cattle uteri have a neutral pH.

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Food safety is among top concerns for Floridians, UF/IFAS survey finds

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Research, Vegetables

Dec. 3, 2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla.  — Food safety is near the top of most Floridians’ concerns, behind only the economy and health care, a survey released today by the University of Florida shows.

The survey covered several food-related issues, including public perceptions about food safety, food insecurity and genetically modified foods. It also found knowledge gaps among Floridians, especially in the area of food safety, and detected conflicted feelings among the public about genetically modified foods. (more …)

UF/IFAS Family Day at the Dairy Farm offers education, fun

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Economics, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock, New Technology, Pollution, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Milk may be sold in supermarkets, but it comes from cows – that’s the lesson being offered this Saturday at Family Day at the Dairy Farm, a free open-house event at the University of Florida’s dairy farm in Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., dairy researchers and Extension specialists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will showcase the farm’s operations and explain how their work helps commercial dairy producers. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626.

Visitors can watch cows being fed and milked, learn about cattle nutrition and health-care practices, pet live calves, tour barns, sample dairy products and make their own butter.

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UF/IFAS Family Day at the Dairy Farm returns March 16, public invited

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Last year’s open house at the University of Florida dairy farm was so successful that organizers were “moo-tivated” to repeat the event, which returns to Alachua County on Saturday, March 16.

Free and open to the public, Family Day at the Dairy Farm takes place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville just off U.S. Highway 441. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626.

Visitors can watch cows being milked, pet calves, walk through free-stall barns, make butter, see farming equipment and learn how UF research helps keep dairy cows happy, healthy and productive. There will even be free samples of dairy products, a giant cow statue to admire, and a hayride to transport visitors to and from the parking area.

Local actor Houston Wells will reprise his role as President Abraham Lincoln, greeting visitors and posing for photos. It will be one of his final appearances commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, a bill Lincoln signed in 1862 to establish the land-grant university system. UF is the state’s flagship land-grant university.

Organizers hope to exceed last year’s attendance, which was about 800 people, said dairy Extension specialist Albert De Vries, an associate professor with UF’s animal sciences department.

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Beneficial bacteria control effects of Southern corn rust, aflatoxin in silage, UF/IFAS researchers find

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Environment, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, Livestock

 

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Corn silage is an important dairy feed but it sometimes harbors an unwelcome addition – Southern corn rust, a fungal disease that thrives under hot, humid conditions.

 The fungus responsible, Puccinia polysora, seems harmless to cattle. However, a Southern corn rust infection can severely reduce the yield and nutritional value of corn plants and inhibit their fermentation to silage.

 Worse, it damages corn tissue, providing a gateway for opportunistic microbes such as Aspergillis. This genus of fungi includes species that produce a toxic compound called aflatoxin, which can harm or even kill cattle that eat contaminated silage. Aflatoxin can also be transmitted to the milk of cows that eat contaminated foods; in people aflatoxin can cause cancer, other diseases and death.

 Now, researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have found a way to control negative effects of Southern corn rust on silage and prevent aflatoxin accumulation, by inoculating the silage with beneficial bacteria.

 The study was published in the September issue of Journal of Dairy Science.

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UF/IFAS experts offer wild game processing workshop for hunters

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hunting can put meat on the family table, and a University of Florida workshop is helping area men and women learn the fine points of bringing that meat home safe and ready to cook or store.

It’s called Wild Game Processing: From Field to Table, a six-hour workshop held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at the UF animal sciences department, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“Proper handling and processing minimizes the risk of foodborne illness and improves the quality and storage life of wild game products for your family,” said Chad Carr, a UF meat science assistant professor. He organizes and leads the workshop, now in its second year.

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