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Summer Health and Food Safety

    Summer Health and Food Safety

The lazy, hazy days of summer may involve a cookout at a local park, a renewed interest in an outdoor physical activity, or another change because of warm temperatures and ideal weather. As a service to the commonwealth, Virginia Cooperative Extension has resources to help residents stay healthy and follow sound food-safety advice this summer. In this media kit, you will find articles about preparing fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid food-borne illness, grilling outdoors, hosting buffet-style meals, staying hydrated in the summer heat, and maintaining a healthy diet. There are also links to publications about a variety of health and food topics, magazine articles about diabetes and childhood overweight, audio clips on healthy snacks and safe grocery shopping, and much more.

Latest News
Extension has tomato-handling tips for consumers (June 2008)
The discovery of Salmonella in certain tomato varieties has caused a series of food-poisoning outbreaks throughout the United States and put the media and the public’s eye on food safety. Renee Boyer, consumer food-safety specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension, has advice for anyone handling fresh produce, including tomatoes.

Experts

Renee BoyerExtension consumer food-safety specialist and assistant professor of food science and technologyVirginia Tech(540) 231-4330rrboyer@vt.edu
Debbie JonesExtension health promotion specialist and assistant professor of public healthVirginia State University(804) 524-5847dsjones@vsu.edu
Elena SerranoExtension childhood nutrition specialist and associate professor of human nutrition, foods and exerciseVirginia Tech(540) 231-3464serrano@vt.edu

News Articles
Don’t let food-borne illness spoil any summer celebration (June 2008)
Summer and outdoor cooking go together. Make sure that food-borne illness isn’t a part of the season. Always practice food safety so that food-borne illness does not spoil summer fun.

Teach children nutrition’s role in healthy lifestyle (August 2007)
Some of the best lessons a child can be taught are how to cook and how to make smart food choices. With childhood overweight an ever-increasing problem, teaching children food-choice skills is necessary to maintain good health, said Elena Serrano, Virginia Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist at Virginia Tech.

Hosts need to be sure buffet-style meals follow food-safety recommendations (August 2007)
All cooks want all their guests to enjoy themselves and so they make sure all the food-safety recommendations are followed when they prepare a meal. Serving foods buffet-style at meals or parties has special food-safety hazards, but these hazards are easy to overcome.

Here are some easy tips to keep food safe (August 2007)
Is “risk” something you associate with sitting down to eat a meal? Probably not, considering the United States prides itself on having the safest food in the world. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 76 million Americans suffer from food-borne illness each year.

Water is key in keeping body healthy (August 2007)
With warm weather just around the corner, it’s important to remember to keep the body hydrated during the hot days of summer.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for type-2 diabetes sufferers (February 2007)
The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 20.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and many others are at risk for developing the chronic disease. But with proper nutrition and regular physical activity, a diabetic or borderline diabetic can still maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Publications
Extension has publications on food preservation, food safety, and health and nutrition relevant to summer health and food safety topics.

Magazine Articles
Teaching Nutrition...and Much More (Solutions, May 2008)
Most of us have the option to make healthy and nutritious food choices. We may not always eat the way we should, but at least we have the opportunity to make food choices. But what if you didn’t know where your next meal was going to come from because you ran out of food stamps three days ago? Would you even think about whether the food you are eating is nutritious as long as you had food on the table?

Safe Food Handling (Solutions, May 2008)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 76 million U.S. residents experienced food poisoning at some point in the last year. While most of these cases are relatively mild, 325,000 cases were serious enough to warrant hospitalization. Each year, approximately 5,000 cases result in death.

Healthy Weights for Healthy Kids (Solutions, June 2007)
Most parents would be ecstatic to hear their children ask for a healthy snack instead of ice cream, cookies, or soda when they come home from school. A child and adolescent nutrition education program from Virginia Cooperative Extension has made this dream a reality for many parents throughout the commonwealth.

Multimedia
More food poisoning these days? (November 2007)
Radio news feature with Susan Sumner, professor of food science and technology

Too clean for safe food? (November 2007)
Radio news feature with Susan Sumner, professor of food science and technology

What you don’t see can get you (November 2007)
Radio news feature with Renee Boyer, Extension consumer food-safety specialist

A method for safe grocery shopping (November 2007)
Radio news feature with Renee Boyer, Extension consumer food-safety specialist

Snacking isn’t what it used to be (October 2007)
Radio news feature with Elena Serrano, Extension nutrition specialist

Healthy snacks are easy (October 2007)
Radio news feature with Elena Serrano, Extension nutrition specialist

Surviving the ice cream store (October 2007)
Radio news feature with Elena Serrano, Extension nutrition specialist

The key to healthy snacks (October 2007)
Radio news feature with Elena Serrano, Extension nutrition specialist

Kids, snacks, and obesity (April 2005)
Radio news feature with Elena Serrano, Extension nutrition specialist

All video and audio resources are courtesy of University Relations Office of Visual and Broadcast Communications.

Additional Resources
The U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains MyPyramid.gov, the official website for dietary guidelines and tips for healthful eating practices.

Many counties and cities have family and consumer sciences agents with resources on summer health and food safety. Contact your local Virginia Cooperative Extension office for more information about a program in your area.

Extension also has a directory of Extension experts on all of the topics it covers. If you need help locating a source or looking for additional information, contact Michael Sutphin at (540) 231-6975 or Lori Greiner at (540) 231-5863.