University of Florida

Media Alert: December 3 is Dine In Day

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

Cutting vegetables and food preparation.

UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones

Who:    Florida residents are encouraged to prepare and eat a nutritious meal in the company of family, friends or coworkers in honor of Dine In Day, a national program facilitated by family and consumer science agents with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. Family and consumer sciences agents work throughout the state to deliver programs on nutrition, health and wellness, and money management to Floridians.

What:    Though most people know that family meals are important, finding time to sit down and share a meal together can be a challenge. Dine In Day promotes the importance of homemade, group meals in fostering family and community relationships, encouraging healthy diets and stretching food dollars.

Individuals, families and groups can pledge to dine in on Dine In Day at http://www.aafcs.org/FCSday/commitment.html.

Diners can also participate on social media by sharing photos and using the hashtags #FCSdayFL and #healthyfamselfie.

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UF/IFAS experts to celebrate animal agriculture at 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, CALS, Crops, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock

2010 Sunbelt Agriculture Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty will be sharing their expertise on the theme of Florida’s animal agriculture at the 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo — the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

About 80,000 people are expected to attend the expo, held Oct. 18 to 20 in Moultrie, Georgia.

“Our experts in UF/IFAS Extension are thrilled to represent our programs, and we are proud to participate in such an important event. It is a great opportunity to meet others who are as passionate about agriculture as we are,” said Nick Place, dean of UF/IFAS Extension.

Visitors come to the expo to learn about the latest agricultural research, technology and marketing tools, according to the expo web site.

At the permanent UF/IFAS building, displays and exhibits will tell the story of Florida’s animal industries, starting with the resources that go into raising animals and ending with the safe preparation of animal proteins. In addition, attendees can hear presentations on livestock forages and poisonous plants by UF/IFAS researchers in the expo’s Beef Barn, or head over to the pond section to learn more about Florida’s fisheries.

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UF/IFAS researchers find biological treatment for cow disease; could help humans, too

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

Beef Cattle at the Straughn Extension Professional Development Center and at the Horse Teaching Unit. Livestock,cows.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher and his colleagues are far more certain now that a new biological treatment could prevent dairy cattle from getting uterine diseases, which might improve food safety for people.

That’s because Kwang Cheol “KC” Jeong, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS animal sciences department and Klibs Galvao, an associate professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, and their team conducted their experiments in the lab the first time. This time, they went into the field.

Jeong, who’s also affiliated with UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, studied uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria.

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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.


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


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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