Friday, August 11, 2017

Packing Safe School Lunches

Dear Parents,  During the rush of a busy morning, packing a safe lunch for your child can be easily forgotten.  Children are more likely than healthy adults to be victims of foodborne illness.  Harmful bacteria rapidly grows and multiplies between temperatures of  40:F and 140:F.   Your child’s health is important.  Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.  Use the following tips to “Pack Food Safety with Your Child’s School Lunch”.

To Start, Pack Smart!
You have lots of choices for packing lunches. Insulated, soft-sided lunch boxes or bags are best for
keeping food cold, but metal or plastic lunch boxes and paper bags can also be used.
If using paper lunch bags, create layers by double bagging to insulate the food.
Pack only the amount of food that will be eaten at lunch to avoid having leftovers.
Cross-contamination can occur by reusing packaging materials such as: paper or plastic
bags, food wraps and aluminum foil. At lunchtime, have your child discard all used food
packaging and bags; they could contaminate other food and cause foodborne illness. Also, discard
perishable leftovers unless they can be safely chilled immediately after lunch and when they are brought home.

Keep Hot Foods Hot
If your child is taking hot soup, stew or chili for lunch, use an insulated container. Parents should fill the container with boiling water, let it stand for a few minutes, empty it, and then put the piping hot food in the container. Keep the container closed until lunchtime so the food stays hot. Between uses wash the container and rinse it with boiling water.

Keep Cold Foods Cold
Prepare the food the night before and store it in the refrigerator or freezer and pack the lunch in the
morning. Keep foods cold by using an ice pack or by freezing a juice box or sandwich. For
best quality, do not freeze sandwiches containing mayonnaise, lettuce, or tomatoes. Add these right
before eating. Frozen juice boxes and sandwiches will be thawed by lunch.

Bacteria (germs), viruses and parasites are everywhere in the environment! They are
organisms that you cannot see, smell, or taste. In fact, they can contaminate food and cause life-threatening illness. Foodborne illness (food poisoning) can strike anyone,
especially young children, pregnant women (it endangers their unborn babies too), older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Before freezing a sandwich, spread a thin layer of butter or margarine on the bread to keep the bread
from getting soggy, then put the sandwich in a plastic freezer bag. Frozen sandwiches can keep for three to four weeks.

Food Guide
The following foods should be kept cold:
Meat, fish, poultry, bologna, luncheon meat and
hot dogs
Soft cheese
Cooked vegetables and
Dressing and gravy
Lunch combinations that include luncheon meats
with crackers, cheese and condiments
Yogurt and hard cheese
Raw fruits and vegetables

The following foods can be kept
safely at room temperature until
Peanut butter `
Baked goods
Butter or margarine
Dry cereal
Pickles, mustard, and ketchup
Dried meats, including beef
jerky and pepperoni
The following foods freeze well:
Cheddar cheese and cream
Peanut butter
Cooked egg yolks
Sliced or ground meat or

The following foods do not
freeze well:
Cooked egg whites

Packing Up Food Safety
In the morning rush, you can wrap up and pack food safety with your child’s school lunch, keeping
them healthy and happy!

Edible Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Why not make a tasty and fun snack to celebrate the day?

Edible Eclipse
  • 3 peach slices
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 black plum
  1. Lay peach slices in a circle on a plate.
  2. Scoop yogurt on the peach slices.
  3. Top with the black plum half.
Makes 1 serving. Each serving contains 60 calories, 1 gram of fat, 13 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fiber and 19 mg sodium.
This snack is not only great because it resembles the eclipse but it's also a great time to enjoy peaches and plums when they are at their peak in late summer. Here is a little more information on these delicious fruits:
  • Peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries are all closely related members of the Prunus genus. They are commonly referred to as stone fruits because their seeds are very large and hard like a stone.
  • If peaches or plums are too firm and need to ripen, place them in a loosely closed paper bag at room temperature. Check daily until soft enough to eat.
  • If you won't be eating the peaches right away after slicing, keep them from turning brown by sprinkling with orange juice.
  • Peaches and plums are tasty snacks eaten whole, chopped, or sliced. Add chopped peaches and plums to yogurt, cold cereal, or oatmeal to add sweetness and flavor. Peaches and plums can be mixed into the batter for pancakes, waffles, muffins, or bread.
  1. Peaches - Household USDA Foods Fact Sheet from USDA
  2. Stone Fruits: Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Apricots, and Cherries from Penn State

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Secretary Perdue Appoints New Leadership for Food Safety

Email: Secretary Perdue Appoints New Leadership for Food Safety (Washington, D.C., August 1, 2017) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today made two key appointments to help fulfill the vital mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The two will serve in those capacities until presidential nominees are confirmed by the Senate for those roles. In making the announcements, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is our most important responsibility, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness. Both Carmen and Paul have dedicated their careers to the mission of food safety and I am pleased to have appointed them to these important roles within the USDA,” said Secretary Perdue. “I commend the work of the entire USDA’s food safety team for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families every single day.” Background: Carmen Rottenberg was appointed Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the USDA’s Office for Food Safety. In this position, she oversees development, implementation, and enforcement of all of FSIS regulations, policies, and programs. This appointment follows nearly six years in leadership roles in the FSIS Office of the Administrator, including serving as Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer and, most recently, Deputy Administrator. In those leadership roles, Rottenberg executed a budget of over $1 billion, prioritizing resources and resolving disputes, advancing the Agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS. She spearheaded strategic planning at FSIS and implemented numerous initiatives to strategically move the agency forward. Rottenberg implemented two major reorganizations, leading to a more streamlined, efficient agency better positioned to carry out its food safety mission. Through her leadership and oversight, an early governance process matured into an established systematic approach to agency decision-making, resulting in more deliberative, science-based decisions that consider enterprise-wide risks and benefits. Rottenberg led the very successful i-Impact initiative, which has increased the awareness of and engagement in FSIS’s public health mission by the more than 9,000 employees throughout the Agency. Rottenberg joined FSIS as an Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist in 2007, and went on to become the Deputy Director of the Civil Rights Staff. She began her federal government career in the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of General Counsel, and previously worked as law clerk at a small law firm in Fairfax, VA. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Hope College in Holland, MI and a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law. Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the FSIS. Throughout his 29 years with FSIS, he has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, manage resources efficiently, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness. Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency, most recently as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Field Operations. He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as Executive Associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the District Manager in Springdale, AR and Madison, WI, as well as Deputy District Manager in Madison, WI. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit, where he has served as a Compliance Investigator and as Supervisory Compliance Officer. In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has played a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international organizations, and law enforcement agencies. He also has had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations. #

Natalie Goldberg is first woman to lead NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station

Natalie Goldberg is first woman to lead NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station DATE: 08/01/2017 WRITER: Kristie Garcia, 575-646-4211, CONTACT: Natalie Goldberg, 575-646-3125, When Natalie Goldberg joined New Mexico State University as an assistant professor and Extension plant pathologist in 1993, she wasn’t thinking about becoming an associate dean in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences someday. She was focused on plants. Whether it’s identifying a plant pest or determining the best pest management strategy, she loves working with plants. After all, she earned both her doctorate and master of science in plant pathology from the University of Arizona after receiving a bachelor of science in ornamental horticulture from Cal Poly Pomona. After working her way up to associate professor and professor at NMSU, she was asked to serve as the interim department head of Extension Plant Sciences in 2007. Soon after – very soon after – she was asked to drop the “interim” part of her title, and that appointment lasted 10 years. On July 1, Goldberg became the first woman to take the helm of the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station. College of ACES Dean Rolando Flores announced in May that Goldberg would be the interim associate dean and director of AES. “Dr. Goldberg has extensive experience in managing a very successful Extension department that is characterized by outreach and applied research,” Flores said. “Her approach reflects the integration we need to have, as a land-grant university, between Extension and research activities.” The AES is not a physical location but an agricultural research system of NMSU scientists. Those scientists are located at 12 centers around the state, from the Fabian Garcia Research Center in Las Cruces to the Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, and from the John T. Harrington Forestry Research Center at Mora to the Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research Center north of Las Cruces. The first 23 acres of land was purchased for AES in 1906. Today, the AES system accounts for 94,884 acres of land across New Mexico. Since 1907, AES has been under the direction of about 16 different male associate deans. Just a few weeks into her new leadership role, there is no question about Goldberg’s top two priorities. She will analyze the budget and take part in a thorough review of all science centers. “The budget is one of my primary responsibilities, so I need to make sure that we stay within our allocated amount of funding,” Goldberg said. “We’re in a time when we’ve had some cuts, and there’s not a lot of reserve funding. I need to figure out how to balance building the reserve funding, but continue maintaining and hiring faculty. My theory going into the next legislative session is that we are not likely to see increased funding. If we continue to receive cuts in our funding, we’re going to need to make some tough financial decisions.” As far as reviewing all science centers, Goldberg will have some assistance. Prior to her appointment, Dean Flores had established an advisory committee of 17 members to assess each center and to analyze the AES system as a whole. The committee is comprised of six members from the agricultural industry, Goldberg, Associate Director of AES Steve Loring and four faculty members, one department head, two science center farm managers and two science center superintendents. Goldberg said the committee has gathered plenty of background data on the centers. “We need to look at how the centers are funded, where that money came from and how that money is being used,” she said. “Many of the centers were built on legislative support from their local constituency. For example, growers in the Artesia area were able to secure funding for faculty at that center. “We’ll work with this committee to conduct a very detailed review of each of the ag science centers. What are they providing that’s unique to the system and that’s important to their area? How are they impacting the agriculture in the immediate area that they serve? What are they doing globally? What are their immediate and longer-term infrastructure needs? This overall review is very important, and it’s one of my first tasks.” The committee had its first in-person meeting July 19. In her new role, Goldberg would also like to focus on the connections among science centers, between science centers and the College of ACES and between AES and the Cooperative Extension Service. “It’s not that the centers are operating independently, but I’d like to see even more connectivity,” she said. “There are certainly collaborations out there. And I’d like to see a more developed Extension–research connection.” Goldberg also acknowledged that she is much more familiar with the plant science aspect and needs to learn much more about the animal science side. She plans to explore partnership development between the science centers and the private sector in their communities. She has seen mutually beneficial partnerships formed between other universities and companies in the agricultural industry and said similar potential opportunities may exist for NMSU. Although overseeing AES will be demanding, Goldberg is no stranger to challenges. She took the NMSU Plant Diagnostic Clinic from a small desk in a tiny office with a couple of petri dishes and a salvaged microscope in 1993 to a fully accredited clinic by the National Plant Diagnostic Network last year. The only other labs with this designation are at Cornell University, the University of Florida and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. She hopes to find the same type of success in her new role with AES. For more information about the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station, please visit

Hot Cars Can Quickly Become Deadly for Children

Hot summer days across the country have contributed to more than 29 child deaths so far this year from heatstroke when children were alone in vehicles. The Eddy County Extension office reminds caregivers to never leave children alone in cars, and if you see a child alone in a car, call 911.

Heatstroke, also known as hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children. It occurs when the body isn’t able to cool itself quickly enough and the body temperature rises to dangerous levels. Young children are particularly at risk as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. Since 1998, more than 700 children across the United States have died from heatstroke when unattended in a vehicle.

"A car can heat up 19 degrees in 10 minutes. And cracking a window doesn’t help,” said Jennah McKinley, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. “Heatstroke can happen anytime, anywhere. We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why we are asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

Together, we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.
•             A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. 
•             C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.
•             T: Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

Eddy County Extension Service and New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is an engine for economic and community development in New Mexico, improving the lives of New Mexicans through academic, research, and extension programs. Eddy County Government, New Mexico State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating, to put knowledge to work.

For more information on preventing child heatstroke deaths, please visit  and