Monday, December 19, 2016

Food Safety for the Latino Community During “Navidad” (Christmas) and “Fin de Año” (End of the Year)

The holidays are a time when Latinos celebrate religious, social, and family traditions passed down from generation to generation. Latinos celebrate Navidad and the farewell to the old year with joy and wishes for prosperity in the New Year. House parties and traditional foods are popular during this transition period. But it is also during this time of the year when you could make your family and guests sick if you don’t follow basic food safety steps.

While we’re sure you all have your favorite traditional recipes, we have a few recommendations to keep in mind while preparing those mouthwatering dishes passed down from our “abuelas” (grandmothers). Here are some tips to help hosts and guests eat safely at holiday parties.

Before you start, always wash your hands before you start preparing foods following these simple steps: wet your hands, lather with soap, scrub for at least 20 seconds, rinse with clean water, and dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them; skipping this step is a top cause of foodborne illnesses.

Wash cutting surfaces, and utensils. Always serve food on clean plates and avoid using those previously holding raw meat and poultry. Otherwise, bacteria that may have been present in raw meat juices can cross contaminate the food to be served. Replace empty platters instead of adding fresh food to a dish that already had food in it. People's hands may have been touching the dish while taking food from it, or the dish could also has been sitting out at room temperature too long. Use clean utensils to serve food plates and not those used in preparation of the raw food.

Separate raw and cooked foods so you don't cause cross contamination. That is, transferring bacteria from raw food onto ready-to eat food. For example, if you are preparing a ham and raw veggies for a dip platter, don’t let the raw meat come in contact with the vegetables, or food that does not require further cooking such as sliced, cooked meat and cheese.

Use a food thermometer to make sure food reaches a safe internal temperature. Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality reasons, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. And keep in mind: If you're transporting hot, cooked food from one location to another, keep it hot by carrying it in an insulated container. Need more information about food thermometers, visit

Chill leftovers within two hours of cooking. Keep track of how long items have been sitting on the buffet table and discard anything out longer than two hours. You never want to leave perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, eggs and casseroles in the “Danger Zone” over two hours. The danger zone is between 40 and 140 °F where bacteria multiply rapidly. After two hours, enough bacteria may have grown in your food to make partygoers sick. Exceptions to the danger zone include ready-to-eat items like cookies, crackers, bread and whole fruit.

No one wants to end a family gathering or a “fiesta” in the emergency room of a hospital, but that’s what could happen if food isn’t handled, served, and store safely. Bacteria are party crashers, and the only holiday gift they bring is foodborne illness.

Handling ham: How can I store and prepare fully cooked ham?

There are two types of hams: fully cooked, which are ready-to-eat right out of the package and those that require cooking before eating. Fully cooked hams may be
eaten cold or reheated to 140 °F. When storing these hams, see the "best if used by" dates on the label. These are dates recommended by the manufacturer to indicate when a product will be of best flavor or quality. Use store-wrapped cooked ham portions within three to five days.

"Cook-before-eating" hams must be cooked to 145 °F and allowed to rest for at least three minutes to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Use within seven days.

Roasting holiday meats: Can I cook my holiday meats at temperatures less than 250 °F? Can I use an oven bag for roasting my turkey?

During the holidays, people tend to spend more money for specialty meats and roasting is a recommended method for cooking tender meats that will make a lasting impression on your guests. To keep the meat tender and minimize shrinkage due to the evaporation of moisture, an oven temperature of 325 °F should be used. It is not recommended to cook meat and poultry at oven temperatures lower than 325 °F because these foods could remain in the "Danger Zone" (temperatures of 40 to 140 °F) too long and allow bacteria to multiply rapidly and cause foodborne illness.

Turkey Roasting Chart Using Oven Bags


8-12 lb. turkey

1½ to 2 hours

12-16 lb. turkey

2 to 2½ hours

16-20 lb. turkey

2½ to 3 hours

20-24 lb. turkey

3 to 3½ hours

 When using an oven bag for your turkey, refer to the directions on the package for the manufacturer’s recommended cooking times. For whole, unstuffed turkeys in oven cooking bags, cook at 350 °F for the following approximate times. Add 30 minutes to the
times if you are stuffing the turkey.

EPA Announces 2016 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

EPA Announces 2016 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced its 2016 annual enforcement and compliance results, highlighted by a series of high-impact cases that are delivering environmental and public health benefits to communities across the country. During EPA’s 2016 fiscal year—which spanned October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016—EPA enforcement actions secured $13.7 billion in investments by companies for projects to control pollution. EPA also secured enforceable commitments that ensure the proper treatment, storage and disposal of an estimated 62 billion pounds of hazardous waste, the majority coming through a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer for their eight facilities across Florida and Louisiana. Two recent landmark settlements—one with BP and one with Volkswagen—are among the most comprehensive and impactful environmental cases in U.S. history. On April 4, 2016, the court entered an agreement with BP for a $20.8 billion settlement to resolve Clean Water Act violations stemming from the Deepwater Horizon blowout and resulting oil spill, with more than $20 billion going to restore impacted communities and the environment. In a case that was lodged in fiscal year 2015 but not entered by the court until October 25, 2016, Volkswagen agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion on projects to reduce air pollution, remedy environmental damage and buy back 2.0 liter diesel vehicles to settle allegations of using illegal software to cheat emissions tests and deceive customers. “EPA’s enforcement work continues to hold violators accountable and deliver investments to reduce pollution in our communities,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The American public depends on EPA to enforce the law, protect our communities from pollution and help ensure a level playing field for responsible companies.” To view an interactive map showing the location of EPA’s 2016 enforcement actions, click here EPA’s 2016 enforcement efforts also secured: • More than $1 billion in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites, and return $55 million to the Superfund trust. • Commitments from companies to reduce, treat or eliminate releases of pollution by an estimated 324 million pounds per year. • Clean up of an estimated 174 million cubic yards of contaminated water or aquifers and 17 million cubic yards of contaminated soil. • A combined $6 billion in federal administrative, civil judicial penalties and criminal penalties. • $207 million in criminal fines and restitution, and a combined 93 years of incarceration for criminal violations of federal environmental laws. EPA continued to pursue high impact cases to drive compliance and tackle the biggest pollution problems across industries: • Tesoro Corp., one of the largest fuel refiners in the U.S., and Par Hawaii Refining will improve public health protections by spending $403 million on advanced pollution control equipment to reduce air pollution at six refineries and $12 million on projects to improve public health in local communities previously impacted by pollution. • Enbridge, which owns and operates one of the world’s largest oil pipeline systems, will spend at least $110 million on implementing a series of state-of-the-art leak detection and monitoring measures to prevent spills, improve operations and protect communities across nearly 2,000 miles of its pipeline system in the Great Lakes region, following oil spills in Michigan and Illinois in 2010. Enbridge is also paying $62 million in penalties. • In a settlement with Marathon Petroleum Company, the company will spend $319 million to install state-of-the-art air pollution controls at refineries in five different states, protecting the health of low-income and other vulnerable communities across the Southeast and Midwest. • Sears will implement a comprehensive, corporate-wide program to ensure its contractors minimize lead dust from home renovation activities to protect the health of children and other vulnerable communities from exposure to lead-based paint. • A settlement with Southern Coal Corporation and its affiliates requires the companies to comprehensively upgrade their coal mining and processing operations, at an estimated cost of $5 million, to prevent polluted wastewater from threatening rivers and streams and overburdened communities across Appalachia. • A settlement with national grocery store chain Trader Joe’s Company will reduce potent greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration equipment at 453 stores nationwide and sets a high standard for the grocery industry for detecting and fixing coolant leaks. • EPA is working closely with local governments and utilities in communities such as Salt Lake County, Utah, Greenville, Miss. and the city of Rockford, Ill. to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated stormwater through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other innovative approaches. More information about EPA’s fiscal year 2016 enforcement results: R205

Updated NMSU publication on Water Quality for Livestock and Poultry

Guide M-112: Water Quality for Livestock and Poultry Revised by Rossana Sallenave (Extension Aquatic Ecology Specialist, Dept. of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources)

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas (In New Mexico Is) By Woods E. Houghton, et. al. Twas the night before Christmas, In New Mexico you know, Way out on the prairie, without any snow. Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue, A dreaming of Christmas, like me and like you. Not stockings but boots, at the foot of their beds, For this was New Mexico, What more need be said? When all of a sudden from out the still night, There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright! And I saw cross the prairie, like the shot from a gun, A loaded up buckboard, Come on at a run. The driver was "whistling" and "shouting" with a will, The "Horses" (not reindeer) he drove with such skill. "Come on there Buck, Poncho, and Prince, to the right" There'll be plenty of travelin' for you-all tonight.. The driver in his Levis, and a shirt that was red, Had a 10 gallon stetson on the top of his head. As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight, with his beard and mustacho,,so curly and white. As he burst in the casa, the children awoke, And both so astonished, that neither one spoke. And he filled up their boots with such presents galore, That neither could think of a single thing more. When Buddy recovered the use of his jaws, He asked in a whisper "Are you really Santa Claus?" "Am I the real Santa? Well, what do you think? And he smiled as he gave his mysterious wink. Then he left in his buckboard, and called back in a drawl, TO ALL CHILDREN OF NEW MEXICO - FELIZ NAVIDAD

Monday, December 12, 2016

Safe Toys and Gifts

Many children receive toys during the holidays. Make sure to check that the toys are safe by looking at these great resources:

December is National Egg Nog Month

Beware of drinking eggnog made with raw eggs during the holidays! Many older classic holiday recipes call for raw eggs. This cooking practice is not considered safe because of possible Salmonella infection. Here are some resources if you want to drink eggnog:

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A. Pumpkin pie is a great way to get vitamin A into your diet.
Try these delicious recipes:
Additional pumpkin recipes:

Oatmeal Muffin Recipes

Adding oatmeal to your muffins gives them a nutritional boost! Oatmeal is classified as a whole grain and can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity. Grabbing an oatmeal muffin makes a perfect on-the-go breakfast option. Make sure to add a glass of low-fat or nonfat milk on your way out. The best way to celebrate Oatmeal Muffin Day is to try one of these recipes:

Upside-Down Strawberries and Ice Cream: Cut the Calories, Keep the Flavor

If you're watching your weight and have put ice cream on your "don't eat" list, think again ...
Instead of a big dish of ice cream TOPPED by a handful of strawberries, enjoy a bowl of berries capped with a small scoop (about 1/2 cup) of ice cream.
ONE cup of strawberries provides about 50 calories and a generous amount of fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. A half cup of a light ice cream adds about 100 calories, as well as calcium. Or, substitute ONE sliced medium-sized peach (2-1/2 diameter) for the strawberries for about 40 calories.
With a total of around 150 calories for the fruit plus ice cream, your taste buds AND your waistline can be happy!
Source of calorie information: USDA National Nutrient Database 

Resources for Sending Food to the Mililtary

Want to send a food gift to someone in the military? Here are some links to help you.

Food safety rules include holiday pies

Pies are traditionally served at holiday feasts, but some need to be treated carefully, according to Beth Reames, a nutritionist with the LSU AgCenter.
To prevent foodborne illness, pumpkin, custard and cream pies and others containing eggs and milk and pecan pies made with eggs should be refrigerated within two hours of preparation, Reames says. And they shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than two hours when they’re being served.
Holiday cakes, cookies and breads with perishable fillings or frosting also should be refrigerated.
“Eggs and milk have high protein and moisture content,” she says. “Bacteria can multiply rapidly when foods containing these perishable items are left at room temperature. Refrigerate perishables, prepared foods and leftovers within two hours.”
Pies containing eggs and milk should be baked to at least 160 degrees, cooled quickly and refrigerated until they’re served, Reames says. Leftovers should be returned to the refrigerator.
“Commercial pumpkin pies have preservatives and other ingredients added to make them shelf-stable,” Reames says. “They may be displayed and stored at room temperature, but once cut, they should be refrigerated. Check the label on commercially baked pies for storage requirements.”
Leftover fruit pie, which typically is prepared without eggs, can be covered and stored unrefrigerated for up to two days. To maintain best quality, however, refrigerate them. The nutritionist recommends storing fruit pies in the refrigerator during warm weather. 

Traveling with Food to Gatherings of Family and Friends

It's a time-honored tradition for many people to bring food to gatherings, such as holiday meals. How do you decide who brings what or how to travel with food if you're asked to bring something?
When assigning foods or deciding what to take, consider type of food and distance to travel. Remember the 2-hour rule: Avoid leaving perishable foods at room temperature longer than 2 hours (1 hour in warmer seasons when the temperature is over 90 F). The 2 hours includes preparation time for foods that aren't cooked or foods that need more preparation steps after cooking.
People traveling a long distance might bring non-perishables such as rolls, breads and cookies. Those traveling about a half hour or less can more safely bring perishable foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products or foods containing these items. Nearer relatives also are a better choice for providing salads, relishes and vegetables.
When traveling with food, keep HOT foods hot (140 F or higher) by wrapping them in foil, and then in heavy towels. Or, carry them in insulated wrappers or containers designed to keep food hot.
Place COLD foods in a cooler with ice or freezer packs or an insulated container with a cold pack so they remain at 40 F or lower, especially if traveling over a half hour.
On arrival, place cold foods in the refrigerator. Place hot foods in an oven hot enough to keep the food at an internal temperature of 140 F or above; use a food thermometer to assure the food stays at a safe internal temperature. Plan to serve foods shortly after guests have arrived.
Another possibility is to carry all perishable food in an ice chest and come early. Then prepare the food after you arrive.
Remember: If you travel with food, take a detour around the "danger zone." Keep hot foods hot (140 F or higher) and cold foods cold (40 F or lower).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Avoid the defrosting "danger zone"

Turkey defrosting in the fridge
While frozen, a turkey is safe indefinitely. But as soon as it begins to thaw, bacteria that may have been present before freezing will begin to grow again. 

There are three safe ways to defrost a turkey: keep reading to learn how!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Food-Safe Path to Thanksgiving and Beyond

Hosting Thanksgiving can be a logistical challenge that starts with planning what to cook and ends with figuring out what to do with all of those leftovers. This year, streamline your Thanksgiving planning to ensure you have a fun and food-safe holiday. 

Check out this blog post from USDA to get day-by-day guidance for Thanksgiving planning, shopping, cooking, and more!

Podcast: Working With the Correctional System and Incarcerated Parents

When professionals work, interact, and exchange information with parents who are incarcerated and who have children involved in the child welfare system, they must also work with the correctional system and detention facilities (prisons). Navigating the protocols and procedures within a State's correctional system can be challenging and confusing, especially to professionals unaware of the restrictions on visitations and correspondence with inmates. This podcast features a conversation between representatives of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services familiar with the relationship between the child welfare and correctional systems. Listen to gain insight on how to facilitate communication, develop and execute case plans, and how to plan and prepare children for visiting their incarcerated parent.

New resource: 10 fact sheets from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

In partnership with Futures without Violence, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed Children and Domestic Violence, 10 fact sheets for parents who may have left, or still be in, an abusive relationship. To download, go to:

Cohabitation usurps marriage as most common experience in young adulthood

Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (1995 and 2011/13), this profile from the
National Center for Family & Marriage Research presents changes in the experiences of
marrying and cohabiting among young adult women (aged 25-29) between 1995 and 2011/13.

Video: The Science of Neglect

Extensive biological and developmental research shows significant neglect—the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—can cause more lasting harm to a young child’s development than overt physical abuse, including subsequent cognitive delays, impairments in executive functioning, and disruptions of the body’s stress response. This edition of the InBrief series explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. This 6-minute video provides an overview of The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain, a Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. -

Research connects parental behavior to adolescent sleep and cognitive function

 According to a University release, one UNM professor claims arguing parents can disrupt the development of children. College of Education Family Studies Professor Ryan Kelly found that, while Americans spend around $7 billion annually on supplemental education, if parents can’t get along with each other, “then all this conditioning is moot.” According to the release, Kelly’s research looks at many of the issues that affect marriage, such as finances, problem drinking, mental health problems and the physical relationship had between each other, and their children. brief?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nmdailylobo+ %28New+Mexico+Daily+Lobo+Email+Edition%29

Preventing, Identifying, and Responding to Human Trafficking

Preventing, Identifying, and Responding to Human Trafficking provides information about how agencies, organizations, and individuals can get involved with the effort to prevent human trafficking and identify and support victims. -

Does financial literacy yield positive trends?

Students may be more likely to open bank accounts and engage in other economic activity if they participate in financial education, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Literacy. Data from a 10-week program show students were 11% more likely to open accounts and 5% more likely to understand basic finances. -

USDA to offer paid training to veterans

Officials this week announced that the US Department of Agriculture will collaborate with the departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs to offer paid apprenticeships to veterans. The oneyear program will train veterans for careers in agriculture and will be used to pilot an online platform for learning. -

Building Core Capabilities for Life

Adults need certain capabilities to get and keep a job, provide responsive care for children, manage a household, and contribute productively to the community. When these skills have not developed as they should, or are compromised by the stresses of poverty or other ongoing adversity, our communities pay the price. But where do these capabilities come from and how do they develop? How can we ensure that everyone has the opportunity to develop them? This report combines research from the biological and behavioral sciences with practical, on-theground knowledge from working with adults and families to provide effective solutions for helping individuals develop more effective skills for coping with adversity. Download the report at:

Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems

How can we use insights from cutting-edge science to improve the well-being and long-term life prospects of the most vulnerable children in our society? Child welfare systems encounter hundreds of thousands of these children, and their families, every year. In a new report, the Center shows how the science of child development can be applied to child welfare policy and practice to improve how these systems support the children, families, and communities they serve. Read the new report at

Five Ways You're Sabotaging Your Career Success (And What To Do About It)

Most professionals aren't using LinkedIn enough to get the full benefits the social network provides, Ariel Lopez writes. You can't be afraid to reach out to others and make new connections if you want to be as successful as possible, she argues.

Job seekers should watch for these red flags

As much you may want a job, it's important to heed early warnings that a potential employer is not the right fit. These signs include holding "cattle-call" interviews, immediately asking how much you made at your last job and pushing back your start date after an offer has been made. Forbes -

What you must have to impress employers

Every job seeker must have critical thinking and social skills and a passion for their industry to impress potential employers, writes Jeffrey Kudisch. Other important qualities include the ability to improvise during interviews and think outside the box. The Washington Post

When to keep short-term jobs on your resume

It's smart to include short-term jobs on your resume if leaving them off would cause an employment gap of one year or more, writes Caroline Ceniza-Levine. It's also more important that your jobs add to your overall story than to have a long list of lengthy stints at various companies. -

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is the proper way to clean a food thermometer?

As with any cooking utensil, food thermometers should be washed with hot soapy water. Most thermometers should not be immersed in water. Wash carefully by hand.

Is a slow cooker safe?

Slow cookers or crock pots can safely cook food. The slow cooker, a countertop appliance, cooks foods slowly at a low temperature -- generally between 170 °F (76.7 °C) and 280 °F (137.8 °C).  The low heat helps less expensive, leaner cuts of meat become tender and shrink less. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make the slow cooker a safe process for cooking foods.

How do you determine the wattage of your microwave oven?

Check the inside of the oven's door, on the serial number plate on the back of the oven, or in the owner's manual or the manufacturer's website for the wattage.
To estimate wattage you can do a "Time-to-Boil Test:"
Measure 1 cup water in a 2-cup glass measure. Add ice cubes; stir until water is ice cold. Discard ice cubes and pour out any water more than 1 cup. Set microwave on high 4 minutes. Watch the water through the window to see when it boils. If water boils:
in less than 2 minutes = very high wattage oven (1000 watts or more).
in 2½ minutes = high wattage oven (800 watts or more).
in 3 minutes = average wattage oven (650 - 700 watts or more).
in 3 - 4 minutes = slow oven (300 to 500 watts).

If your microwave's wattage is lower than the wattage mentioned on the food package cooking instructions, it will take longer than the instructions say to cook the food to a safe internal temperature. Always use a food thermometer to ensure a safe internal temperature.
For more information on using a microwave oven, go to Cook It Safe

Monday, October 3, 2016

Caffeine Consumption and Diabetes

Wendy Bricco-Meske, NMSU Dietetic Intern and Graduate Student

Caffeine, a chemical stimulant that occurs naturally in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of 63 species of plants, has
been a topic of discussion for many years when it comes to its effects on health. The most common sources of
caffeine include coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world
(International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC], 2016), with 80% of U.S. adults reporting that they drink it,
60% of whom do so daily (Loftfield et al., 2015). While there is no nutritional need for caffeine, many individuals
use it for brain stimulation since it is easily absorbed into the body within 30 minutes. Due to the fact that coffee,
and therefore, caffeine, are consumed in such high amounts, numerous studies have been conducted to look at
the potential health risks and benefits associated with their consumption (Loftfield et al., 2015).
Over the course of many years, researchers have looked at specific diseases, as well as overall mortality, in
relation to coffee and caffeine consumption. One of the biggest health concerns related to coffee has been
cancer. Until recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had not discussed coffee
carcinogenicity since 1991. Previously, coffee was classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. When the IARC
Work Group met in May 2016, new research showed that there were either no associations or inverse
associations between coffee consumption and cancer. The new classification made by the IRAC is that coffee is
unclassifiable with its carcinogenicity towards humans. Instead, the Working Group classified drinking very hot
beverages (over 65 degrees Celsius or 149 degrees Fahrenheit) as probably carcinogenic to humans due to tumor
promoting activity (IARC, 2016). Caffeine actually contains antioxidants, which are linked to protecting against
certain diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) (Wolde, 2014).
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. An inverse relationship was found between
coffee consumption and diabetes-related mortality (Loftfield et al., 2015). Wolde, 2014, found that a higher intake
of coffee is associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, while tea, which also contains caffeine, has no effect on diabetes risk. In fact, those who consumed
6 or more cups of coffee per day have a 35% lower risk of
diabetes than those who drink 2 cups or less per day
(Wolde, 2014). Using data from the Prostate, Lung,
Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial,
the association between coffee consumption and
mortality was looked at, as were disease specific
associations. The study looked at the amount of coffee
consumed (no coffee, <1 cup per day, 1 cup per day, 2-
3 cups per day, 4-5 cups per day, ≥6 cups per day), as
well as type of coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated).
The inverse association between overall mortality and
coffee consumption is thought to be due to the inverse
associations between coffee consumption and other
conditions including heart disease, chronic lower
respiratory disease, influenza/pneumonia, and
intentional self-harm (Loftfield et al., 2015). In 2013,
Jiang et al. conducted a meta-analysis of 31 prospective
studies to look at the associations between coffee/ caffeine intake and the risk of T2DM. In all 31 studies, the inverse relationship
of greater coffee consumption and lower diabetes risk was found, some with
greater significance than others.
Although the exact mechanisms as to why coffee aids in lowering the risk of
developing diabetes are not completely understood, multiple inferences have
been made (Loftfield et al., 2015). Caffeinated coffee was found to be positively
related to improved insulin sensitivity, while decaffeinated coffee has a positive
relation to beta-cell function (Jiang et al., 2013). Caffeine may also protect
against T2DM through an increase in metabolic rate and thermogenesis, which
stimulates fatty acid release and fatty acid oxidation, thus mobilizing glycogen
in the muscles (Jiang et al., 2013).
Other factors influence the extent to which caffeine consumption impacts the
risk of diabetes. Studies that included gender found that although both
genders had inverse relationships between coffee consumption and diabetes,
this association was higher in females. Body Mass Index (BMI) plays an
important role in determining how strong coffee’s effects are since higher
BMI’s can cancel out those benefits. Adverse outcomes from smoking may also
cancel out the positives of caffeine intake, as stronger associations were found
among non-smokers. Experiments have been conducted to show that smokers
eliminate caffeine from the body more quickly than non-smokers, thus limiting
the time they have to utilize the benefits of caffeine (Jiang et al., 2013).
There is currently no recommendation as to how much coffee is needed to
reap the protective behaviors against diabetes. However, research shows that
an intake of 4 cups of coffee per day or more has significantly greater benefits
than 2 cups per day when it comes to lowering the risk of diabetes (Wolde,

Exercise and Diabetes: A Supportive Relationship

Ashley Dunworth, RD

We all know that exercise is good for a strong body. Exercise can help maintain
healthy weight, increase lean muscle mass and therefore boost metabolism. But
did you also know that exercise can lower blood sugar levels AND increase insulin
sensitivity? The benefits of exercise are endless- no one ever says: “I really regret
walking today.” That’s because exercise is never regrettable! When it comes to
improving mood, losing weight, sleeping better and especially controlling
diabetes, exercise is an all around win-win!
What kind of effect does exercise have on blood glucose?
Our first source of energy for muscles is glucose. When we are active, our muscles
expand and contract. During this type of movement, our muscle cells have the
ability to uptake glucose through active transport without the use of insulin (1).
This process increases energy metabolism thus decreasing glucose free- floating in
the blood. Alongside increased cellular glucose uptake, insulin sensitivity is also
improved. When insulin can effectively attach to cells, it signals muscle and
adipose tissue to uptake glucose, while also signaling the liver to stop glucose
release (gluconeogenesis) (1). These actions together increase glucose uptake and
ultimately increase energy production.
What does the literature show? In a 16-week study on the effect of exercise on
insulin resistance in 60 Latino adults, there was a statistically significant decrease
in A1C concentrations (p=0.01) as well as decrease in serum triglycerides (p=0.08),
and in systolic blood pressure (p=0.05) (2). Muscle glycogen was also measured
and showed an increase in muscle storage of glucose (p=0.008) (2). The
intervention for this study was in the form light, resistance training exercise, 45-
minutes, 3 times per week, compared to the control that did not participate in any
form of exercise the duration of the study. This study shows supportive evidence
that exercise can considerably improve glycemic control, increase energy
metabolism and have the added benefit of reducing blood pressure and free
floating triglycerides in the blood (2).
Another study with 54 women over a 14-week period showed that exercise was
able to significantly metabolize glucose in the blood (p<0.001). Insulin sensitivity
was also significantly increased with exercise (p<0.008) compared to the control
(3). This study, along with dozens found in the literature, contains reassuring evidence of the positive effects exercise has on glycemic control and diabetes.Is there a downside to exercise with diabetes?
Before running out and hitting the gym, it is important to understand how exercise
can affect blood glucose (BG) on an individual level. Because exercise, specifically resistance
training, can increase lean muscle mass, the metabolism effects can last up to 24 hours.
To be safe- it is imperative to be consistent with checking BG levels before and after physical
activity in the start of any new exercise routine to understand how it affects BG levels.
Hypoglycemia is possible during exercise and it is important to be prepared (4): Always keep a fast-release glucose snack on hand, 15-20g carbohydrate (e.g., candy, soda, juice,
glucose tablet). Test glucose 20-30 minutes after, if still low, eat another carbohydrate snack and repeat testing. When exercising, in most cases, it is not necessary to increase the amount of carbohydrates consumed per day, BUT- it is important to check blood sugar and
thoroughly understand how exercise affects glucose levels. Before starting any new exercise
routine, always check with a doctor first! How to get the most benefits from exercise: Strategically planning exercise throughout the day is most valuable. Time is always an issue, and gym memberships can by pricey. Taking short walks (10-15 minutes) before and after meals can increase insulin sensitivity and help lower BG levels. In fact, short bursts of physical activity spread
throughout the day can help with diabetes control (4). Exercise in all forms, whether
walking, taking the stairs, doing lunges in the office or even cleaning the house, can
help keep BG levels maintained. Not only will exercise benefit diabetes maintenance,
but it also improves overall health by aiding in weight loss, reducing blood pressure
and increasing energy. The bottom line—get out and get active!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today is National Coffee Day.. Check out these resources for some nutritional information about Coffee

While the new Choose MyPlate icon doesn't include a coffee cup, there is increasing evidence of the health benefits of coffee. While a plain cup of coffee has about 2 calories, the calories in additions to coffee and specialty coffee drinks can add up.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Can meat and poultry be frozen in original packaging?

Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent freezer burn. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its original packaging, however this type of wrap is permeable to air and quality may diminish over time. For prolonged storage, overwrap these packages as you would any food for long-term storage. It is not necessary to rinse meat and poultry. Freeze unopened vacuum packages as is. If you notice that a package has accidentally been torn or has opened while food is in the freezer, the food is still safe to use; merely overwrap or rewrap it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How long can I freeze pork?

Frozen foods are safe indefinitely. For best quality, fresh pork roast, steaks, chops or ribs should be used within 4 - 6 months; fresh ground pork, pork liver or variety meats should be used within 3 - 4 months; and home cooked pork; soups, stews or casseroles within 2 - 3 months. After that they will still be safe but may lose quality or dry out.For more information about pork visit: Fresh Pork from Farm to Table.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Study: Millennials leave jobs over outdated office technology

The Future Workforce Study, from Dell and Intel, shows that 42% of millennials will leave an office space if it is outdated. More than half of those in the study believe their office will become "smart" by incorporating virtual reality and the internet of things over the next five years. -

Emergency Preparedness at Home – Are You Ready?

Emergency Preparedness at Home – Are You Ready? Your family’s safety is #1 so learn how to be prepared for an emergency in your home with these evacuation plan tips and emergency kit checklist -

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Local School Wellness Policy and Smart Snacks among Four Regulations Ensuring Access to Healthy Food, Consistent Nutrition Standards for Foods Marketed and Served to Students, and Greater Program Integrity

Today, the Obama Administration is announcing four final rules that implement important provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) building on the progress schools across the country have already made in the improved nutritional quality of meals served in schools. As a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to raise a healthier generation, the rules will ensure that children have access to healthy snacks and that nutrition standards for the foods marketed and served in schools are consistent. The rules will also promote integrity across the school meals programs.
"I am thrilled with the progress we continue to make in building healthier learning environments for our kids with science-based nutrition standards for all food sold and marketed in schools. As a mom, I know how hard parents work to provide nutritious meals and snacks to their kids, and we want to make sure we support those efforts with healthy choices at school," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "I am inspired by the tremendous work that's being done in schools across the country to provide our kids healthy food to fuel them throughout the day so that they can grow up healthy and fulfill their boundless promise."
"Children's ability to learn in the classroom and reach their fullest potential depends on what we do right now to ensure their health," stated Secretary Vilsack. "The actions we are announcing today continue the Administration's unprecedented commitment to building a healthier next generation and institutionalize the positive changes schools across the country have already made."
The Smart Snacks in School final rule aligns the nutritional quality of snacks sold to children during the school day with the science-based improvements made to school lunches and breakfasts over the last five years. These include using practical, science-based nutrition standards that ensure children are offered more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. States have the flexibility to allow limited exemptions to school-sponsored fundraisers during the school day. The Smart Snacks standards were implemented in the 2014 – 2015 school year in accordance with the interim final rule. This final rule makes modest improvements to those standards based on public comments and lessons learned from implementation.
The Local School Wellness Policy final rule ensures that any food or beverage that is marketed on school campuses during the school day meets the Smart Snacks standards. According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 70 percent of elementary and middle school students are exposed to some kind of food/beverage marketing through school. Many of the foods and beverages that are heavily marketed to children contribute to poor diet quality, high calorie intake, and excess weight gain. However, the majority of schools do not have policies restricting food and beverage marketing to children. This rule makes sure foods offered and marketed to students during the school day have consistent nutrition standards.
The Local School Wellness Policy final rule also empowers communities to take an active role in the health of their children. It requires schools to engage parents, students and community members in the annual development and assessment of local school wellness policies. These policies guide a school district's efforts to establish school environments that support healthy eating and physical activity. States and local communities will have flexibility in developing a policy that works best for them.
Also posted today were the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) final rule and the Administrative Review final rule. Under HHFKA, CEP allows schools and local educational agencies with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students to promote access to healthy food and reduce administrative burdens on schools and families. The final rule streamlines administrative processes, making it easier to participate in the meal programs. More than 18,000 schools in high poverty areas currently participate in CEP, which is now in its second year of nationwide implementation offering nutritious meals at no cost to 8.5 million students.
The Administrative Review final rule updates the administrative review process used by state agencies to monitor federally-funded school meal programs. It safeguards the integrity of the programs, ensures taxpayer dollars are being spent as intended, and increases accountability and transparency by publicly posting how well school food authorities are complying with various requirements. State agencies began implementing the updated review process in school year 2013-2014, and currently 95 percent of state agencies are already implementing the updated administrative review process.
The rules announced today are part of implementing the HHFKA where more than 52 million children now have healthier school environments than ever before with over 98 percent of schools meeting the healthier meal standards. In addition, research shows that under the updated standards nearly 80 percent of schools offer two or more vegetables at lunch and consumption has increased by more than 16 percent. This is especially crucial for the approximately 15.3 million American children that live in food insecure households, many of whom rely on school meals as a consistent source of nutritious food.
Key improvements to child nutrition programs implemented under the HHFKA include:
To better assist schools with these improvements, USDA also implemented mentor-based training for school nutrition professionals through the Team Up for School Nutrition Success initiative. More information about USDA's efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and support the health of our next generation can be found on USDA's Medium chapter, Growing a Healthier Future.

In total, USDA's Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs. In addition to National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, these programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the summer meals programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which together comprise America's nutrition safety net. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Will spices used beyond their expiration date be safe?

Many spices are available in both whole and ground forms. Ground spices lose their aroma and flavor more quickly, so it's wise to buy them in small quantities. For best quality, store whole spices at room temperature for 2 to 4 years and ground spices for 2 to 3 years.