Climate change may be increasing NJ allergy problems, Rutgers expert says

A New Jersey researcher says milder winters and warmer seasonal air associated with climate change are having an impact on allergies by spawning more pollen… Leonard Bielory, a researcher at Rutgers University, says they find climate change is bringing out earlier and more intense releases of pollen. "Climate change has an impact in New Jersey in changing the amount of pollen being released over a different period of time," he said.

Read the entire article at NJ 101.5 »

Consumer survey tallies GMO reaction

A new biotechnology disclosure law allows food producers to use digital codes rather than product labels to inform consumers that certain foods contain genetically modified ingredients… Nearly half of Americans say they would be much less likely or somewhat less likely to purchase a food product if they learned it contained genetically modified ingredients… "The statements mean both the participants in the survey and Americans in general because the results obtained from survey participants are used to project to the U.S. population," said William Hallman, a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and professor in the department of human ecology at Rutgers University. "Because the survey participants are representative of the U.S. population, the percentages in the statement represent the percentages of Americans in general who would have responded similarly had we had the opportunity to interview all 320 million of them."

Read the entire article at AgriView »

Why Food Date Labels Don’t Mean What You Think

The dates printed on milk cartons are probably the six most misunderstood numbers in grocery stores… "We do have a state of confusion in terms of date labeling," says Donald Schaffner, professor of food science at Rutgers University. "Date labels primarily exist as a way for food manufacturers to communicate to their customers what to do or what to expect from the food product. There is not a lot of standardization."

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Beach Beat: Raw milk — a different kind of choice/life debate

Organizers billed the raw milk debate at the annual conference of the International Association for Food Protection as an "Amicable Exchange of Experts.".. On the side of raw milk, a key point from Joseph Heckman of Rutgers University involved the very use of the term "raw milk." He is affiliated with the "Campaign for Real Milk," which is a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Heckman said when he talks about the benefits of "fresh unpasteurized milk" he is referring only to "unprocessed, certified, milk that has been properly produced."

Read the entire article at Food Safety News »

Woodinville firm builds death trap for mosquitoes that spread Zika

Seattle has spawned several high-tech efforts to combat Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases, from research on vaccines and drugs to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s vision of genetically engineering mosquitoes or infecting them with microscopic bugs to block viral transmission. But there’s also a low-tech battle under way, led in part by a local company that specializes in simple devices to trap and kill insects, usually without pesticides… "We’re certain these traps can kill mosquitoes," said Karl Malamud-Roam, manager of the Public Health Pesticides Program at Rutgers University. "What we’re not sure of is if we can kill enough of them to be below the threshold of disease transmission."

Read the entire article at The Seattle Times »

Perfect New Jersey tomato matter of taste — and science

Out in Upper Deerfield Township in Cumberland County, surrounded by hundreds of acres of corn, are a few acres where Rutgers University researchers are growing the tomatoes of tomorrow… "We started breeding tomatoes that resist bruising," said Jack Rabin, associate director of farm programs for Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. "That’s where the train ran off the track. We were so good at what we were doing, we forgot that people wanted to have a sloppy, juicy thing that left juice running down their chin." "If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no such thing as the perfect tomato, said Extension Specialist Tom Orton as he stood among rows of tomato plants at the station’s field.

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

New York City’s Chief Zika Hunter, Dr. Jennifer Rakeman

Dr. Jennifer Rakeman (CC’94), director for the New York City Public Health Laboratory, tasked with testing for emerging diseases which now includes Zika. Public health laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are among the only facilities equipped to test for the Zika virus, which is spread by a certain species of infected mosquito and is of particular risk to pregnant women.

Read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal »

Food Commercialization Center planned in Bridgeton

The Cumberland County Improvement Authority on Friday announced plans to bring a $9-million, 27,000-square-foot Food Commercialization Center to Bridgeton in the fourth quarter of 2017… The CCIA also plans to work closely with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center – located at 450 E. Broad St. in Bridgeton – on the project. Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, offered a positive outlook for the new facility. "A number of our clients and our graduates at the Food Innovation Center routinely require between 2,000 to 3,000 square feet of space to meet their growing commercialization needs," he said."In addition, we have a number of domestic and international companies we work with that are looking immediately for this amount of space as they launch their business to serve the U.S."

Read the entire article at The Daily Journal »

Using Gardens to Improve Community Health and Manage Stormwater Runoff

Shiloh Community Garden.

Shiloh Community Garden.

The Shiloh Community Garden in downtown New Brunswick has been the focal point of a unique health project that seeks to foster positive physical, emotional, and social health outcomes for an underserved city population: uninsured clients of Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen. These clients, who receive free primary care through the Promise Clinic, a volunteer clinic run by medical students associated with Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, obtain gardening skills while they learn about healthy food and improving personal health.

Through the efforts of Richard Alomar, assistant professor, and Megan Pilla, graduate student, in the Department of Landscape Architecture, sketching at the Shiloh Community Garden has been integrated into the community-based project. Pre-and post-health assessments will evaluate whether the experience leads to positive health outcomes, and sketching journals will document the work recollections and attitudes of the participants. The results will inform future Elijah’s Promise programming, community gardening expansions, further scholarship in community-based health, and an expanded study. The project, a collaboration of Elijah’s Promise, the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Rutgers, is funded by a Community-University Partnership grant.

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It’s Peak Mosquito Time on the Atlantic Coast: Will Zika Follow?

Now that Florida has become ground zero for locally-transmitted Zika virus in the United States, researchers are scrambling to quantify the risk to other regions of the country… After running their model in Philadelphia, for example, the scientists predicted that in 14 percent of scenarios, more than 100 people would become infected if Zika was introduced by a traveler returning with the disease. In more than half of the runs of that model, at least one new person was infected. The model also showed that the risk of serious outbreaks rose as the mosquito season lengthened, a concern that would increase should the weather remain hot and sticky later into the year. Such results don’t surprise Dina Fonseca, an entomologist at Rutgers University, who studies the habits of mosquitoes. "Right now we’re entering the most dangerous time in terms of density of Aedes albopictus," she said, referring to the Asian tiger mosquito. "In July is when they start to go crazy, at least here in New Jersey, but they peak in August."

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