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Ask Karen Ranks As Top Ten Best Federal Mobile Apps

 “Ask Karen,” an online food safety question and answer service provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety Inspection Service is now mobile. “Ask Karen” provides 24/7 virtual assistance and tips on preventing food borne illness, safe food handling, storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. The "Ask Karen" app was announced at the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service, Food Safety Education Camp held at Maryland City Elementary in Laurel, MD, on Thursday, May 5, 2011.  USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

“Ask Karen,” an online food safety question and answer service provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Food Safety Inspection Service is now mobile. “Ask Karen” provides 24/7 virtual assistance and tips on preventing food borne illness, safe food handling, storage and safe preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.

Last week the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) Mobile Ask Karen app earned high-praise from Government Computer News (link will take you offsite).  The publication gave a tip-of-the-hat to Mobile Ask Karen, ranking it as one of “The 10 best federal mobile apps.” Mobile Ask Karen was heralded as “a perfect example” and “the best of the bunch,” and was the only app to earn perfect scores in the categories of usefulness, ease of use, and coolness factor. Read more »

To Bee Keep or Not to Bee Keep

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory displays a live bee colony in a two-sided glass case at 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Thursday, June 28, 2012 on the National mall in Washington, D.C.  One of the three themes this year is “Campus and Community.” It celebrates the 150 years of the USDA and the Land-Grant University System. The USDA and the Land-Grant system extend education across the country, contributing to American agriculture success and rural prosperity. “Campus and Community” has demonstrations, discussions, hands-on activities, and entertainment to that showcase the many ways that this partnership works to improve American agriculture and rural life.  USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory displays a live bee colony in a two-sided glass case at 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Thursday, June 28, 2012 on the National mall in Washington, D.C. One of the three themes this year is “Campus and Community.” It celebrates the 150 years of the USDA and the Land-Grant University System. The USDA and the Land-Grant system extend education across the country, contributing to American agriculture success and rural prosperity. “Campus and Community” has demonstrations, discussions, hands-on activities, and entertainment to that showcase the many ways that this partnership works to improve American agriculture and rural life. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

This week, representatives from USDA have been down on the National Mall, staffing hands-on exhibits about food safety, bioenergy and even bees.  Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have, for years, been studying Colony Collapse disorder (CCD), which has been attacking honey bee colonies since 2006. Read more »

What Anglers Can Do To Fight Invasive Species

Hi, I’m Dr. Janet Whaley, an aquatic veterinarian and avid angler.  I guess you could say fish are my passion!  I work every day to ensure the continued health of our nation’s fish, so that in my spare time, I can be out on the water with my fishing pole and a camera.

Invasive species can spread unintentionally on land and in the water.  This could damage our waters and our forests – and leave us with unhealthy or fewer fish to catch.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be sure I can bring my family fishing for years to come.  So I take proper steps to help keep invasive species in check.  The basic steps all anglers (and boaters, too) need to keep in mind include: Read more »

“Ask Karen” Tweets to Reduce Foodborne Illness at Fourth of July Barbecues

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service started its Fourth of July “party” a little early this year, hosting a bilingual Twitter party on June 28 to answer its tweeps’ food safety questions in advance of any gatherings they are hosting. “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ virtual food safety representative, and her Spanish-language counterpart “Pregúntele a Karen” answered  questions from @USDAFoodSafety and @USDAFoodSafe_es about food safety around the Fourth of July holiday and summer in general. Read more »

Celebrate the Red, White, Blue and Orange

Keep the lemonade flowing this Fourth of July!   The stars and stripes and fireworks would not be the same without citrus–iced tea with lemon, key lime pie, lemon chiffon cake, fish with lemon, orange sorbet, lemon-garlic chicken and avocado lime salsa.  And, as the temperatures rise, kids across American set up makeshift lemonade stands as a favorite way to earn a little spending money. Take time to stop and enjoy a glass.

Make this Fourth of July a celebration of citrus’ role in this holiday’s food and culture. My hope is to raise awareness of the serious threat that diseases like citrus greening pose to U.S. citrus so Americans can protect the refreshing flavors of summer. Read more »

Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Why shop at a Farmers Market?

Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.

Nutrition.gov recently filmed a video to promote the benefits of shopping at farmers markets, featuring a registered dietitian as she talks with farmers and customers at the market.  And here’s a sneak peek at our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets with links to resources to help you find local markets and get the most out of your market experience: Read more »