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New Dietary Guidelines Support Healthy Choices for All Americans

A group of people eating healthy food

A group of people eating healthy food.

Today, we are delighted to announce the release of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

We know that a lifetime of healthy eating helps to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. The Dietary Guidelines provides a clear path for the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals and others who reach the public, to help Americans make healthy choices, informed by a thoughtful, critical, and transparent review of the scientific evidence on nutrition.

Obesity and other chronic diseases come not only with increased health risks, but also at a high cost. Healthy eating is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce the onset of disease. Read more »

THIS JUST IN: USDA Issues Permit for Santa’s Reindeer to Enter the U.S.

As Christmas Eve draws close, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is helping clear the way for a smooth trip for special visitors from the North Pole.  (USDA Photo)

As Christmas Eve draws close, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is helping clear the way for a smooth trip for special visitors from the North Pole. (USDA Photo)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today issued a movement permit to Mr. S. Claus of the North Pole, a broker with Worldwide Gifts, Unlimited.  The permit will allow reindeer to enter and exit the United States between the hours of 6 PM December 24, 2015 and 6 AM December 25, 2015, through or over any northern border port.

“During this season of giving, we agreed to waive the normal application fees and entry inspection/overtime costs,” said Dr. John Clifford, USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer.  “USDA wants to do everything in its power to help Santa.”  Read more »

Growing Areas of the Law

The USDA National Agricultural Library’s Agricultural Law Information Partnership website is a resource to help people find information relating to agricultural law. (Illustration credit: Jody Shuart, ARS).

The USDA National Agricultural Library’s Agricultural Law Information Partnership website is a resource to help people find information relating to agricultural law. (Illustration credit: Jody Shuart, ARS).

Success in any part of agriculture today means being able to successfully navigate local, state and federal laws and regulations — from water rights to food safety regulations, from crop insurance to organic certification.

To help people find such legal information, the National Agricultural Library (NAL) has recently developed the Agricultural Law Information Partnership website. This partnership is a collaboration between NAL, the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (NALC), and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at the Vermont Law School. Read more »

NIFA-funded projects help improve quality of life in Indian Country

When the 1994 land-grant universities began to form there was a hint that something different and special was underway.  The new land-grant system would teach in a cultural context that empowered students by drawing on the strength of their peoples’ history, indigenous knowledge, and traditions.  There are now 34 tribal land-grant institutions that have made great strides in their ability to serve their communities.  The following blogs and publication illustrate the positive outcomes of NIFA-funded research, education, and extension programs in Indian Country.

Maple syrup collection in a sugar bush. NIFA grants support camps that allow tribal youth to experience cultural tradition while learning about plant science. (iStock image)

Maple syrup collection in a sugar bush. NIFA grants support camps that allow tribal youth to experience cultural tradition while learning about plant science. (iStock image)

 A sweet camp for native youth

For some Native American children, a well-loved tradition is gathering maple syrup in early spring.  USDA’s National Institute of Food and Nutrition provides grants to support a unique camp where reservation youth can experience their cultural traditions while learning plant science.  Camp instructors teach the youth about the science of xylem and phloem (the systems of transporting water, minerals, food, etc., throughout a plant) and why the trees produce the sugar sap. Tribal elders explain the cultural and historic significance of maples to the campers.  It’s all part of a bigger initiative to promote food security in an area where grocery stores are scarce.  Read more. Read more »

How to be a Savvy Shopper with Savory Leftovers

Leftover turkey can be eaten cold or hot.  If you are reheating leftovers, reheat them to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Leftover turkey can be eaten cold or hot. If you are reheating leftovers, reheat them to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.

Thanksgiving is finally over, and now comes the biggest weekend for holiday shopping.  According to the National Retail Foundation, the average shopper spends about $380 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.  

When planning out your battle strategy shopping budget, you may forget to account for the meals you eat before, during, and after a long shopping trip.  Those lattes, sandwiches, garlic knots, and smoothies you may buy to fuel your shopping can really start to add up and will put a damper on your holiday shopping budget.  Read more »

Cook Your Turkey like a P.R.O.

Be sure to check the temperature of your turkey with a food thermometer in 3 places—the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh and wing.

Be sure to check the temperature of your turkey with a food thermometer in 3 places—the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh and wing.

The countdown is over, and the big day is finally here.  It’s Thanksgiving Day, and the family is on the way, most likely with growling tummies.  You may have been preparing all month, but if not, no worries!  We’ve got you covered on how to safely handle and prepare your turkey.  Now that’s you’re ready, let’s get cooking!

Wash Your Hands 

One of the most important ingredients for a delicious and food safe Thanksgiving meal is clean hands.  Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds throughout the cooking process, especially before handling food and after handling raw meat and poultry.  This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of bacteria.  Often times, there tends to be multiple cooks in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.  Make sure all of your helpers wash their hands before they touch any food. Read more »