As New Jersey Allergy Season Arrives, Questions Arise About Impact of Climate Change

The warming weather from this past week, and the promise of higher temperatures to come, will start up the gears for Mother Nature’s annual spring allergy season this week, says a New Jersey’s expert on pollens, ragweed and molds… Springfield allergist Dr. Leonard Bielory said he expects the kick off of the tree pollen season to begin before the spring equinox on Friday… "It’s going to shoot and my prediction is it’s going to be greater than last year," he said… Bielory is the principal investigator in a federally funded grant program at Rutgers University to study the connection between climate change and allergic airway disease… This weekend, in fact, Bielory is in Buenos Aires to make a presentation on climate change and its effects on asthma at a conference of experts on allergies, asthma and immunology. Climate change aside, Bielory says data shows increases across age groups in most areas of the country for sensitivity to various allergens.

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Green Thumbs: Get a Jumpstart on Spring with Forced Blooms Indoors

If this winter has not gotten you down, you are among the few and a touch of spring would definitely be a boost to most gardeners. There are several flowering shrubs and trees that can be pruned and forced to bloom earlier indoors… Place your branches in a bucket and add 3 inches of water. The branches should be kept in a cool area, 60 to 65 degrees, to develop. Warmer temperatures can cause the blooms to develop improperly. To help prevent bud loss, mist the buds regularly or keep the branches close to a humidifier… This article was written by Mona Bawgus, a certified master gardener and consumer horticulturist with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County.

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US Dietary Guidelines Focus on Curtailing Sugar

The latest word from an advisory panel that helps form U.S. dietary guidelines confirms what nutritionists have been saying in recent years: Cholesterol-rich foods like eggs and shrimp aren’t as bad for us as previously believed, but sugars definitely should be curtailed… The fact that too much sugar, particularly delivered through sugar-sweetened beverages, can lead to weight gain and health problems may not be groundbreaking. But the panel’s call for Americans to limit sugar intake to 10 percent of daily calories (about 12 teaspoons a day for adults) is news… Rutgers Today talked with Peggy Policastro, a Rutgers University registered dietician/nutrition specialist and director of the Healthy Dining Team, about her take on the recommended guidelines aimed at fighting rising obesity in the United States, which affects one-third of adults and 17 percent of children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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Bringing Local Foods into Schools: A Food Innovation Center Partnership

School lunch quality has been getting a lot of attention on the web lately. Whether it’s images of tantalizing school lunches from around the world juxtaposed with a bland U.S. school lunch, or students’ snapshots of globs of unidentifiable food on school lunch trays, people are taking notice. The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is working to make school lunch products not only healthy and tasty, but also made from local Jersey Fresh products.

Video: Rutgers Food Innovation Center converts local harvests into student-approved cafeteria foods

Rutgers Expert Weighs In On What’s Sufficient When It Comes To Food Safety

iStock_000005670506LargeWhen it comes to sanitation, one size does not fit all. Associate Director for Food Safety, Quality Assurance & Training at Rutgers Food Innovation Center – South Donna Schaffner looks at what makes for sufficient food sanitation practices in commercial food production. Her article was published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of Food Safety Magazine.