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."

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Sweet, super-sized peach cake planned for 4-H Fair

Standing over more than 150 pounds of fresh peaches Wednesday, Gloucester County’s Master Gardeners started a sweet and sticky assembly line…Twenty-four hours later, their prepped peaches would be part of a 250-pound peach shortcake recognized by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as the state’s largest birthday cake. The peach cake, baked and assembled by Liscio’s Bakery in Glassboro, will debut Thursday at opening ceremonies of the Gloucester County 4-H Fair and New Jersey Peach Festival in Mullica Hill…The peach-filled mega-pastry marks the 100th anniversary of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the organization that oversees the Master Gardener program and 4-H throughout the state. "We wanted to do something fun and festive," said Luanne Hughes, an RCE health sciences educator.

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An Exaltation of Moths, Much-Maligned Kin of the Butterfly

The night was still young and a tad too breezy. But already, more than a hundred people were gathered around a series of fluttering, black-lighted sheets in the middle of the New Jersey Meadowlands, waiting for their quarry. They were looking for the nocturnal members of the order Lepidoptera, at one of dozens of events organized in the New York region as part of National Moth Week…For the organizers, the moth events are a way to dispel some of the myths about moths – that they are brown and drab, that they eat tomato plants and nibble at sweaters. "Only a very few are pests," said Elena Tartaglia, who has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolution from Rutgers University and specializes in hawk moths.

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Barnegat Bay degradation moving south

Two years after hearing a scientist’s dire warning on Barnegat Bay, New Jersey lawmakers heard how the bay’s degradation appears to be spreading south from Ocean County’s biggest suburbs. The northern end of the 42-mile-long estuary already has crippled water quality, a trend that has accelerated during the last 20 years, Rutgers University research professor Michael Kennish told a joint meeting of the Legislature’s environment committees. "The situation has not gotten better; it’s gotten worse in term of nutrients," said Kennish, who leads the university’s Barnegat Bay science efforts and is an author of a recently updated report on the bay’s conditions.

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Death of Barnegat Bay can be reversed, Rutgers prof tells state lawmakers

For at least two decades, scientists have known that Barnegat Bay is dying and that an overabundance of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus is what’s killing it. But what they haven’t known is how much of those nutrients the bay can accept without continuing that downward spiral. But a Rutgers University professor told a state legislative panel on Monday that he helped determine those limits and he urged lawmakers to take action on them to save the popular recreational and commercial waterway. "We have a lot of confidence in what we’ve done," Michael Kennish, professor of estuarine and marine ecology at Rutgers University told a joint meeting of Senate and Assembly environmental committees today in Toms River.

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