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Yes, GMO’s are Safe

27 Feb

My son, Nicholas, decided to write an essay about GMO’s for his Language Arts class. I encouraged him to use researched based information or information based on scientific experiments. This is what we found:

dna• Genetic Modified Organisms are plants and animals with changes in their DNA. These changes are made to improve their performance and availability. These genetic changes have been occurring for ten thousand years when farming began.

• Today, nearly all foods have been genetically modified. However, there are only 9 commercially approved GM crops available in the U.S.: soybeans, corn (field and sweet), canola, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, summer squash, papaya and potatoes. Soon GM apples will be coming to local markets. The nutrition and composition of these crops are the same as non-GMO’s foods. Also, our bodies digest them the same way as non-GM crops.

• These GMO’s do not present any new health risks—they do not cause new allergies, cancer, infertility, ADHD or any other diseases or conditions. Scientific authorities around the world such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have examined hundreds of scientific studies. In conclusion, they found that GMO food crops do not pose more risks to people, animals or the environment.

• Before they reach the market, crops from GM seeds are studied extensively to make sure they are safe for people, animals and the environment. Today’s GM products are the most researched and tested agricultural products in history. Global regulatory agencies in seventy countries have reviewed the safety information and found no risks. apples

• In  the United States, GM crops are reviewed by at least 2, and sometimes 3, federal regulatory agencies: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While Facebook and other social media sites do an excellent job of spreading information, we have to remember that sometimes the information isn’t completely accurate. As with anything, the Extension office recommends using reputable sites and resources when doing research. The Extension office is glad to assist with researched based information for any questions or concerns you may have.


The Clock is Ticking…Countdown to Your Thanksgiving Feast! By Taylor Burrage, student in the UGA Dept. of Foods and Nutrition.

17 Nov

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is so close already? If you haven’t started planning yet, here are some ways to ensure a delicious and safe meal that you can be thankful for.

Clear the Fridge! Use up as many foods in your refrigerator as you can right now. This will free up space for your turkey and all of your tasty leftovers. If you’re not sure if a specific food is still good to eat, call your local FACS Extension Agent at 1-800-Ask-UGA1 or the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline.  The USDA Hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET for calls or email at  Help is available in English and in Spanish.

Gather Your Equipment and Ingredients

  • Will your turkey fit in your roasting pan?
    • Do you have enough cooking and serving vessels for all of the dishes planned? Make sure they are all clean and ready to use.
  • Do you know where your food thermometer is? Is it calibrated to read accurately and ready to use?
  • Do you have all the ingredients for the recipes you are preparing?
    • Don’t leave perishable foods out at room temperature while you go to the store for the ingredients you forgot!

Buying the Turkey

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person. The quality is almost equal between fresh or frozen turkeys, so buy whatever is your personal preference. If buying a fresh turkey, check the date on the package. It is a good idea to buy it no more than two days in advance.

Cooking the Turkey

  • Use an oven temperature no lower than 325 degrees F.
  • Cook your turkey to a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF. You should take the temperature of ALL of the following parts of your turkey:
    • The innermost part of the thigh
    • The innermost part of the wing and
    • The thickest part of the breast.
  • An unstuffed turkey can take up to 3 hours to cook so plan ahead and your meal will be right on time!

celebration-315079__180For more information on food safety, contact your local Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent at 1-800-Ask-UGA1

¿Escuchastes? ¡Ya selló!

23 Feb



Everyone making sure we are doing it right! FACS agents from NW District: Cindee Sweda (Cobb), Marybeth Kellet (Rockdale), Inés Beltrán ( Gwinnett), Barbara Worley (Forsyth), Barbara Collins (Muscogee) Alexis Roberts (Bartow), Keishon Thomas ( Bibb) and Kaley Barkar ( Intern-Bibb).



Una de las experiencias más fascinantes de ser un agente de familia y consumidor del Programa de Extensión de la Universidad de Georgia es tener la oportunidad de participar en los adiestramientos regulares sobre la ciencia de la conservación de los alimentos. Nuestra propia especialista,  la Dra. Elizabeth Andress, una reconocida líder nacional y experta en conservación de alimentos se asegura de que los agentes de Extensión estén al día en las últimas investigaciones y desarrollos relacionados con los procesos de enlatar, congelar, preparar mermeladas y jaleas y las últimas tendencias del mercado, entre otros temas.

La semana pasada un grupo del Distrito Noroeste de Extensión se reunió en la oficina de Extensión de Cartersville, GA para participar en un adiestramiento interactivo. Como grupo preparamos jalea de manzana. Si usted está interesado en hacer esta deliciosa receta puede encontrar la información y todos los pasos a seguir en el Centro Nacional para la conservación de alimentos al visitar el siguiente enlace:

La conservación de los alimentos nos ayuda a evitar el deterioro de los alimentos que preferimos y comemos. El moho, las levaduras y las bacterias son microorganismos que pueden echar a perder nuestra comida. Cada vez que asisto a una clase de conservación de los alimentos escucho una palabra muy aterradora: Clostridium botulinum, el nombre de una bacteria que puede hacer que nos enfermemos y que puede causar hasta la muerte. Cuando seguimos los procedimientos adecuados estamos haciendo lo posible para evitar que esta terrible bacteria crezca en la comida que preservamos. Esa es una razón muy convincente para asegurarnos de utilizar recetas que hayan sido puestas a prueba por instituciones serias y responsables, y que usemos el equipo adecuado y los procedimientos correctos para preparar y conservar alimentos para nuestro consumo y el de nuestros seres queridos.

setp5ed   Si usted es un entusiasta conservante de alimentos puede que ya esté utilizando el libro “So Easy to Preserve”. Este es un fantástico recurso lleno de recetas aprobadas y ofrece explicaciones precisas de los procedimientos y procesos que todos debemos seguir para garantizar una experiencia segura y exitosa. Póngase en contacto con su oficina local de Extensión para preguntar sobre como adquirir la más reciente versión del libro “So Easy to Preserve”. Nos estamos preparando para los meses más cálidos y la disponibilidad de los productos frescos y deliciosos aumentará. Considere el uso de procesos como el enlatar, congelar, secar o encurtir. ¡Prepare deliciosas mermeladas y jaleas con sus frutas favoritas y disfrute de los productos durante todo el año! ¡Ah y como parte de la experiencia prepárese para escuchar el esperado sonido de un frasco bien sellado!

Edda Cotto-Rivera, FACS agent in DeKalb County


Did you hear? It popped!

23 Feb

Everyone making sure that we are doing it right! FACS agents from NW District: Cindee Sweda (Cobb), Marybeth Kellet (Rockdale), Inés Beltrán (Gwinnett), Barbara Worley (Forsyth), Barbara Collins ( Muscogee), Alexis Roberts (Bartow), Keishon Thomas (Bibb) and Kaley Barkar ( Intern -Bibb).


One of the most fascinating experiences about being a Family and Consumer Sciences agent in Georgia Extension is to have the opportunity to participate in regular updates about the science of preserving food. Our very own specialist, Dr. Elizabeth Andress, a national leader and expert makes sure that agents are up to date in the latest research and developments related to: canning, freezing, making jams and jellies and market trends among other topics.

Last week a group of Extension Northwest District’s  county agents  met at the Extension office in Cartersville, GA to participate in a hands –on training. As a group we prepared apple jelly. If you are interested in making this delicious recipe you can find the information and all the steps at the National Center for Home Food Preservation website visiting the following link:

Food preservation will help us prevent the spoilage of the food we like and eat. Molds, yeast and bacteria are microorganisms that can spoil our food. Every time I attend a food preservation class I hear a very scary word: Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria that can make you really sick and can cause death. Following the proper food preservation procedures have the intention to eliminate this frightening bacteria from growing in our food. That is a very compelling reason to make sure we are following tested recipes, the right equipment and the right procedures recommended by serious and responsible institutions, when we prepare and preserve food for us or our love ones.

setp5ed  If you are an avid food preserver you might be using the So Easy to Preserve book. This fantastic resource is full of tested recipes and offers precise explanations of procedures and processes we all need to follow to ensure a safe and successful food preservation experience. Contact your local Extension office to inquire about ordering the latest version of the So Easy to Preserve book. We are getting ready for warmer months and the availability of fresh and delicious produce will increase. Consider using canning, freezing, drying or pickling processes. Prepare delicious jams and jellies with your favorite fruits and enjoy them all year round! And as part of the experience get ready to hear the jar pop!

Edda Cotto-Rivera, FACS agent in DeKalb County

Canning the Safe Way

27 Apr

Canning season started and the Family and Consumer Agents from Extension are setting classes to encourage people to follow some basic safety guidelines. The first of these is to use recipes and processes that have been scientifically tested. The So Easy to Preserve book is the basic resource for canning, freezing and dehydrating, and has the added convenience of having a strong index. You can start there to determine IMG_8931a[1]which possible methods exist for a given item: If it is listed, there is a recommendation, but if it isn’t listed, that option does not have a tested recipe or procedure.

There are number of sources for canning information that really cannot be relied upon, including: Websites, Blogs, Many current books, and Celebrity chefs. You definitely want to avoid using old recipes, even those in recently re-published old cookbooks, because canning recommendations have changed over the years, and are subject to significant updates when new science determines that safety is at stake.

Because of this, it’s important to be careful about taking advice from other home canners, especially those that canned many years ago or were exposed to canning at a young age, because they may have learned an older forms of canning—open kettle, steam canning, turning the jars upside down, etc.—and never updated their knowledge of the subject. Just because “No one ever died” from those methods does not mean that they are smart to use, or that no one ever will.

Now that you’ve chosen a recipe from the So Easy to Preserve, it is very important to take a few more steps to ensure the safety of your end product.imagesCAVKZQ2H

  • You must follow recipes and procedures carefully. If the directions say to peel and chop, you must peel and chop. If it says to process 30 minutes for pint jars, then you must use pint jars and process for thirty minutes. Canning, especially, is not a spot where we get to have our culinary genius shine through. It’s important for your safety that you do not deviate from the recipe for what goes into the jar or skip steps in the process. Later, when you take the jar out of the pantry and include it as part of meal, you can use it creatively then.
  • The ingredients you use for any food preservation method need to be the best quality, ripe but not overripe, and never picked up from the ground. Food preservation methods won’t make bad food better and food already on its way to spoiling has a greater likelihood of spoiling once preserved.
  • As with all kitchen activities, cleanliness is important. Thoroughly clean any produce and containers that will be used, and work in a clean work area with clean hands and utensils.

Canning is an important and enjoyable way to preserve food. And it is very safe if it is done correctly. To read more about safety canning and preserving visit The National Center for Home Food Preservation web site You will find information about the So Easy to Preserve book, webinars, recipes, and self-studies.

Prepare las comidas en casa para empezar su estilo de vida saludable

11 Apr

images[4]Preparar y comer comidas en casa es un paso importante para comer saludable. Usted puede preparar comidas saludables, fáciles y rápidas en casa. Tan solo recuerde estos simples pasos: Planear, comprar, preparar y comer.


  • Mantenga una lista de las comidas favoritas de su familia. Separe 30 minutos para planear para la siguiente semana.
  • Haga una lista de los platos principales y de los acompañantes que servirá cada día de la semana. Seleccione recetas con pocos ingredientes y que necesiten solo técnicas de cocina rápidas.
  • Pegue el menú en la nevera donde todos lo puedan ver.
  • Escuche los comentarios de su familia sobre el menú y use la lista de los platos favoritos de su familia incluyendo los platos principales, las ensaladas, los vegetales, las frutas y los postres.
  • Busque ideas de platos principales y de acompañantes rápidos y saludables en libros de cocina, periódicos, sitios de internet, o revistas y agréguelos a su lista. Mantenga estas recetas en fólderes o en cajas.


  • Compre con regularidad una vez a la semana o al mes, asi ahorra dinero, tiempo y gasolina.
  • Compre frutas y vegetales en estación porque es más barato y sabe mejor.
  • Visite su farmer’s market más cercano y ahorre dinero al comprar calidad.
  • Compre solo lo de su lista asi no gasta demás y no olvida los ingredientes para las recetas de su menú.
  • No compre con hambre. Consuma un snack o una de sus comidas antes de mercar.
  • Los chicos puede ayudar, déjelos escoger una fruta o un vegetal Nuevo o algo que en realidad les guste mucho.


  • Sea estricto con su plan.salad-istock-TaylorLittle[1]
  • Lave y prepare sus frutas y vegetales con anticipación.
  • Prepare demás del plato principal para otra comida.
  • Agregue una fruta o vegetal favorito en lata o congelado.
  • Revise su plan de comidas todas las tarde y saque su comida congelada al refrigerador la noche anterior para que se descongele de manera segura para la siguiente cena.
  • Involucre a los chicos, es divertido para todos. Los ninos van a probar nuevas cosas si ayudan en la cocina. Recuerde la seguridad en la comida haciéndolos lavar sus manos en la cocina con frecuencia.


  • Comer juntos: Hágalo una prioridad, es una gran oportunidad para compartir en familia. Los chicos comen más despacio que los adultos, así que tome su tiempo durante las comidas y disfrute de unos minutos demás sentados en la mesa antes de limpiar.
  • Apague la televisión, la radio, el teléfono, para que todos disfruten de la conversación sin distracciones. Deje que las personas dejen mensaje o apague el sonido de su teléfono para evitar las distracciones.
  • Compartan los eventos del día preguntándole a cada persona sobre una actividad divertida o algo bueno que haya ocurrido durante el día. Es un rato agradable para saber sobre eventos especiales de la escuela o sobre los logros de los chicos.
  • Haga elecciones saludables: Es más fácil cuando se preparan las comidas en casa y la familia se sienta en la mesa a compartir la comida. Es una buena oportunidad para hablar y servir de modelo sobre comer saludable, los tamaños de las porciones, y probar nuevos alimentos.

Para recetas fáciles y saludables contacte su oficina de Extensión más cercana.

Keep it hot or keep it cold!

9 Nov

bolsa caliente y fria

For many this is the favorite time of the year. The leaves are changing, and for the most part the weather is gorgeous. Also is that time of the year when we go to festivals, family events and celebrations. There are not meaningful celebrations without food! We are probably getting ready to cook for a big crowd and even thinking about sending food to relatives and friends who live far away from us.
One of the most common requests for information we received at the Extension office is related to food handling and preparation. We would like to review very important tips in order to keep our food safe and prevent getting sick during the holidays.
• Cooked food can last in the refrigerator for about four days. If you are planning to use it longer than that you should freeze it.
• The best way to freeze our food is to store it in shallow airtight containers, use the food within three to four months.
• If you thaw meat or poultry in the refrigerator you can re-freeze it. The quality might decrease, but it will be safe to eat.
• If you are buying any foods over the mail, make sure that is sent to you following the appropriate recommendations. The most important one is to keep the food out of the danger zone: between 40F and 140F. If is cold keep it lower than 40 degrees and if is hot it should be kept higher than 140F.
• When you keep your food hot for too long, it might get dry. It is better to refrigerate it and reheat it when is time to serve it. If you are preparing a delicious stuffed turkey and the guests don’t get to your house on time, it is better to remove the stuffing and refrigerate it until is dinner time.
• Do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours, if the temperature is above 90 then put the food away at one hour.
Enjoy the holiday season and don’t forget to handle your food safely. For more information contact your Extension office at 404-298-4080.