IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS study: Nutrition labels may lead to buying more raw seafood

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

Grouper and assorted seafood fillets on display at a store in case. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — If grocers put nutrition labels on packages of raw fish — a good nutrient source for cardiovascular health — parents may be more likely to buy the fish, a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences study shows.

Xiang Bi, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of food and resource economics, worked with her colleagues to survey 1,000 people online to gauge consumer reactions to raw fish with nutrition labels. Until 2012, federal rules only required nutrition labels on processed and commercial foods. That year, the federal government started requiring raw meat and poultry products to carry nutrition information on their labels. 

In the new study, researchers focused on three types of information: nutrition, health and a combination of nutrition and health. By putting the same nutrition label on raw seafood packages as consumers can find on raw packages of meat, consumers are more willing to buy the raw seafood, the study found. This finding may interest the seafood industry, grocers and policy makers, the study says.

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UF/IFAS Chef Bearl teams up with Bok Tower Gardens for Outdoor Kitchen opening

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

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LAKE WALES, Fla. — Forty Florida middle school students will learn to cook fresh, healthy meals with a professional chef, thanks to the partnership between University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and Bok Tower Gardens.

The cooking demonstration is set for May 20 and will celebrate the recent opening of the new Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden at Bok Tower Gardens, said Chef David Bearl.

The Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden will inspire meals prepared with the seasonal fruits and vegetables grown onsite, said Tricia Martin, director of education at Bok Tower Gardens.

Martin worked with Bearl to design the kitchen with a chef’s needs in mind. The kitchen features state-of-the-art appliances, a wood-fired brick oven, granite countertops and seating for 40 people.

Before the cooking begins, students will pick fresh fruits and vegetables from a garden located next to the kitchen, said Martin. Back in the kitchen, Bearl will coach groups of students as they add these ingredients to their pizzas. Bearl also plans to emphasize food and kitchen safety, including how to use a cutting board and proper hand washing.

Local high school students who are part of their school’s culinary program will work as Bearl’s sous chefs and act as mentors for the middle schoolers.

When all the healthy toppings have been added, participants will watch their pizzas cook in the wood-fired oven and enjoy the tasty results.

Bearl hopes the students will be so excited about making their own food they won’t care that the pizza crust is whole-wheat or that they are eating vegetables. “I want them to like fresh, minimally processed food, and to go home and have their parents make it,” he said.

And if those parents take their children grocery shopping, they might start to hear, “Hey Mom, I want some kohlrabi!”’ Bearl said.

In addition to teaching kids about nutrition and where their food comes from, Martin sees the cooking demonstration as chance to show youth career opportunities in the culinary arts.

This event will further strengthen the partnership between UF/IFAS and Bok Tower Gardens, and help serve the mission of both institutions to encourage healthy living and appreciation of natural resources, Martin said.

The Outdoor Kitchen and Edible Garden “represents the goals of the partnership to provide experiential education that’s going to enrich people’s lives,” Martin said.

“Bok Tower is a teaching institution,” said Bearl, “and these kinds of partnerships only help spread the word about UF/IFAS.”

Bearl trains program assistants in the UF/IFAS Family Nutrition Program and is the UF/IFAS Farm to School chef. He is certified by the American Culinary Federation.

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Caption: Chef Bearl handing a boy a healthy snack at the Brevard Farmer’s Market. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

By: Samantha Grenrock, 352-294-3307, grenrosa@ufl.edu

Sources: David Bearl, 904-669-1340, david.bearl@ufl.edu

Tricia Martin, 863-332-0742, tmartin@boktower.org

Top UF/IFAS-produced food, beverages showcased at Flavors of Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research

2016 Flavors of Florida with VIP event at Emerson Alumni Hall, followed by the event at the President's house on Monday, May 9th.

 
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty, administrators and friends of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences now know even more about the fine foods and beverages produces by UF/IFAS faculty after the annual May 9 Flavors of Florida event.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, commended faculty and thanked friends for attending.

“Flavors of Florida is a chance for UF/IFAS to showcase the many fine foods and beverages developed by our world-renowned scientists to not only make food tastier and more nutritious but to help growers sell more food at the grocery store,” Payne said. “And with the help of our many friends around Florida, we can continue the laboratory and field research necessary to continue producing these incredible foods.”

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Partners help produce UF/IFAS’ annual ‘Flavors of Florida’ food and drink showcase

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

UF/IFAS Flavors of Florida 2015

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences thanks the many partners who are helping sponsor this year’s Flavors of Florida festivities, an annual event designed to showcase how top-notch science creates delectable, nutritious food and beverages.

Two of those partners for the May 9 event in Gainesville are Straughn Farms, which gave at the platinum level, and Florida Tomatoes, which gave at the gold level.

“The Flavors of Florida features the advances of modern plant breeding that is the foundation of the Tomato Industry,” said Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee. “The search for the best flavors for Florida Tomatoes is an ongoing effort that provides the opportunity to expand demand. Florida Tomato growers have supported variety improvement for decades. The opportunity to feature the ‘flavor’ simply highlights the advancements of the science of plant genetics. Solutions through applied science is the path to the future of the Florida Tomato grower.”

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UF/IFAS Extension Leon County to host Spring Open House on May 7

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition

Who:      The UF/IFAS – Leon County Extension Office to host the 2016 Spring Open House.

What:    The community is invited to learn more about gardening related topics, including tree ID, invasive plant ID, the Florida-Friendly Yards program, composting and vermicomposting (worms!), and providing wildlife habitat at the UF/IFAS Extension Leon County Spring Open House. Visitors can tour demonstration gardens, and purchase a plant at the plant sale. Other Extension program areas will also be there. The Family Nutrition Program – Farm to School will have children’s activities and school garden resources for teachers. Leon County 4-H will introduce folks to archery. The Big Bend Woodwind Quintet will also be providing musical entertainment while you tour the gardens. Light refreshments will be available.

When:   9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, May 7

Where:  UF/IFAS Extension Leon County Office, 615 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, Florida, 32301.

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

Source: Mark Tancig, 850-606-5202, tancig00@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS to host panel about global food security with Rep. Ted Yoho on May 2

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Nutrition

Background: The House of Representatives recently passed the Global Food Security Act, a bill crucial to the continuation of the important Feed the Future Innovation Lab research at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).  Congressman Ted Yoho’s district includes the University of Florida, and he is a supporter of this legislation and other USAID-supported research at public land-grant institutions. This panel will provide a greater understanding of how that research affects his district and U.S. efforts to promote nutrition, food security and partnerships with farmers abroad.

What: A panel discussion to highlight the important contributions being made by the University of Florida to the fight against global food insecurity and malnutrition.

Where: UF Animal Sciences Horse Teaching Unit; 1934 SW 63rd Ave. From main campus, head south on SW 13th St., and turn right onto SW 63rd Avenue.  The HTU is located about 0.4 miles down the road on the right.  Parking is ample.
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UF/IFAS researchers: Florida sees dramatic increase in school gardens

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Lawn & Garden, Nutrition, Vegetables

4H counselor gardening with children.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — School gardens have been popping up like pea plants all over Florida, and students and teachers are eating up the benefits.

There are approximately 1,300 school gardens in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These gardens provide numerous benefits to students and teachers, said Kohrine Counts, a dietetics intern and master’s student at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

A recent study by Counts and Karla Shelnutt, an associate professor in the department of family, youth and community sciences and UF/IFAS Extension nutrition specialist, shows that school gardens are an excellent way to get fresh produce into classrooms and cafeterias. And, they also provide students with a living classroom where concepts related to science, math, agriculture and nutrition can be learned and applied, Counts said.

“School gardens get children outside and offers an interactive learning environment,” Counts said. “It gives them a chance to see where their food comes from, and allows children to develop life skills such as leadership, self-awareness, decision making and responsibility.”

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UF/IFAS researchers try to expand muscadine grape market

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

Charles Sims

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are trying to expand consumers’ knowledge of muscadine grapes, and they hope that awareness leads to more people buying them.

“They’re full of nutrients and flavor,” UF/IFAS food science professor Charles Sims said of the tick-skinned fruit.

Right now, muscadine grapes are grown only in the South and are not very well known in other parts of the country, Sims said. Apparently, more consumers are apt to buy muscadine grapes if they know about them, at least according to a recent UF/IFAS experiment.

For her master’s thesis, Mailys Fredericq, a graduate student in food science and human nutrition, studied 139 participants – 70 of whom considered themselves familiar with muscadine grapes, and 69 who were not. Fredericq found that those who knew about muscadine grapes like their appearance, flavor and texture much more than those who didn’t know much about the grapes.

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UF/IFAS scientists honored as UF Research Foundation professors

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Nutrition, RECs, Research, Soil and Water Science

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Six University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members, who are trying to solve global issues as wide-ranging as better alternative fuels and nutrient absorption, have been named as UF Research Foundation Professors for 2016-19.

The recognition goes to faculty who demonstrate a distinguished record of research and a strong research agenda that’s likely to continue to distinguish them in their fields.

“UF/IFAS faculty research continuously shows its value in practical ways, but these faculty members stand out because the University of Florida is recognizing their outstanding work,” said UF/IFAS Dean for Research Jackie Burns. “Their scientific research helps solve global issues ranging from potential solutions to citrus greening to growing crops in a changing climate to finding new sources of alternative energy.”

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UF/IFAS recognizes top faculty research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Aquaculture, Economics, Environment, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Nutrition, Pests, RECs, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether it’s hybrid termites, grain pathogens, mosquito mating or something in between, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers are studying important topics and helping to solve global issues.

The UF/IFAS Research Dean’s Office recently recognized more than two dozen UF/IFAS faculty members for their impactful research, and Dean for Research Jackie Burns said she could not be more proud of the scientists.

“We recognize that these research articles are examples of the many published by UF/IFAS that are highly impactful and help reach solutions to worldwide issues including food shortages, nutrition, diseases and economic development,” Burns said. “Our faculty perform top-quality, globally-recognized scientific work, and we’re proud to recognize them.”

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