Food Safety in China Still Faces Big Hurdles

China has been scrambling to right its gargantuan processed-food ship ever since six infants died and thousands more were hospitalized with kidney damage in 2008 from milk adulterated with an industrial chemical. But as the latest scandal involving spoiled meat in fast-food shows, the attempted transformation over the last six years has run up against the country’s centuries-old and sprawling food supply chain…"The way I keep explaining China to people is that it’s kind of like the U.S. in the time of Upton Sinclair and ‘The Jungle,’"; said Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University and president of the International Association for Food Protection, referring to the 1906 novel that described unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry and inspired reform. "There is tremendous desire by the Chinese to get it right, but they have a long way to go."

Read the entire article at NYTimes.com »

Crazy Food-Industry Tricks You Don’t Know About

The process of getting that apple on your plate sounds simple enough: farmer picks apple, apple gets loaded on a truck and shipped off to the grocery store where it lands in your cart. Well, not quite. In fact, your food goes through a lot to make it to you, from being treated with antibiotics to getting a chlorine bath and a wax coating…The journey a chicken takes from the farm to your kitchen table is not pretty. After slaughter, warm chickens need to be cooled down, so they’re placed in a big tank of cold water and a sanitizer, like chlorine, to control harmful bacteria and contamination, explains Don Schaffner, PhD, of the department of food science at Rutgers University. The FDA and USDA say this process is safe, Schaffner says, but you can avoid chickens that have been treated this way by choosing air-chilled poultry.

Read the entire article at Yahoo.com »

Rutgers Cooperative Extension Welcomes Back Retirees to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors, John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake commemorating the 100th anniversary of Extension.

Former and current Rutgers Cooperative Extension directors John Gerwig (left) and Larry Katz cut the cake at the retiree event commemorating the 100th anniversary of Extension.

This year, as Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) celebrates the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that created the Cooperative Extension Service, what better way to commemorate its history than to invite back those who were part of its past? To this end, a luncheon for RCE retirees was held at Neilson Dining Hall on the Cook/Douglass campus on June 20. Fifty retirees and their guests attended the event, reuniting with former and current RCE colleagues.

The retirees were former faculty and staff that represented all facets of RCE administration, its extension specialists and the ARMA, FCHS and 4-H departments. Current RCE department heads were on hand to provide updates on institutional activities while Executive Dean Bob Goodman and RCE Director Larry Katz discussed extension’s anniversary and the current state of affairs.

While the retirees appeared to enjoy active and fulfilling retirements, a few never strayed far from Rutgers, continuing work in their respective fields. Retired Extension Specialist in Vegetable Crops Mel Henninger coordinates the educational program for the annual New Jersey Vegetable Meeting (Atlantic Coast Ag Convention and Trade Show) in Atlantic City and is also working with Agricultural Agent Dave Lee on corn and soybean trials at Rutgers Snyder Farm. Recently retired Agricultural Agent Rich Obal (GSNB ’77) teaches courses for the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education and continues his involvement with the Rutgers Master Gardener program. [Read more...]

There’s Love for Local in New Jersey

NJ Ag mag photoDid you know New Jersey is a national leader in the local foods movement? We wouldn’t be called the Garden State if we didn’t take our agriculture seriously. Read more on how home cooks, restaurant chefs, school children and food pantries are tapping into Jersey Fresh produce at New Jersey Agriculture.

IFNH Participates in RWJF Health Forum for NJ Statewide Stakeholders

L-R: Peter Gillies, Peggy Policastro, Mary Tursi and Dan Gorenstein, senior reporter for NPR’s MarketPlace and panel moderator for the forum.

L-R: Peter Gillies, Peggy Policastro, Mary Tursi and Dan Gorenstein, senior reporter for NPR’s MarketPlace and panel moderator for the forum.

On June 20, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) hosted a new national initiative, Culture of Health Forum, at its headquarters in Princeton, NJ. This special forum for statewide stakeholders featured two panels of leaders and experts in the health field and focused on a discussion on how a culture of health in America can be achieved. [Read more...]