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How Far Has Food Safety Come in 150 years?

Throughout the year, and this month in particular, USDA celebrates 150 years of existence. The legislation that established USDA was signed on May 15, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln. At that point, food safety wasn’t a major concern for the People’s Department.

The turning point for domestic meat inspection really came in 1905 and 1906, after Upton Sinclair published The Jungle. The details of the book described unsanitary working conditions in a Chicago meatpacking house, putting meat consumers at risk for disease. Read more »

Spring brings oohs and aahs – wildflower season begins to bloom across national forests and grasslands

Wildflower displays of blue Wasatch Penstemon and white Nuttall’s linanthus wildflowers bloom in the subalpine meadows of Albion Basin on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest from mid-July through early August.

As spring begins across the nation, fields are turning green – and pastel pink, flaming scarlet, electric orange, brilliant yellow, deep violet and florescent blue.   Wildflowers are abloom!

 This year, the Forest Service has released an updated wildflower map with 317 viewing areas to choose from on America’s national forests and grasslands.  In addition to locations, information is also provided on the best time for peak viewing. Read more »

School Enrollment in Cambodian Province Increases 70 Percent with USDA Support

Using the basic hygiene and sanitation skills learned through traditional puppet shows, a teacher and her students at Kirisovanavong school in Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang Province wash their hands before eating. (Photo credit:  International Relief & Development)

Using the basic hygiene and sanitation skills learned through traditional puppet shows, a teacher and her students at Kirisovanavong school in Cambodia’s Kampong Chhnang Province wash their hands before eating. (Photo credit: International Relief & Development)

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) partners with a variety of non-profit groups, cooperatives and international organizations to promote food security in developing countries around the world. The following guest blog highlights the successful partnership between FAS and International Relief & Development in Cambodia. Read more »

Grillin’ and Chillin’ for National Barbecue Month

AMS Poultry Program employees Mark Perigen (left) and Gerald Brockman (right) prepare filet mignon on a tailgate-style grill.  They prefer a charcoal grill because of the smoky taste it offers.  Photo courtesy Mark Perigen

AMS Poultry Program employees Mark Perigen (left) and Gerald Brockman (right) prepare filet mignon on a tailgate-style grill. They prefer a charcoal grill because of the smoky taste it offers. Photo courtesy Mark Perigen

April showers have passed and barbecues are in full bloom.  Perfect weather and longer days make the month of May the perfect time to celebrate National Barbecue Month.  Whether you think barbecuing requires gas or charcoal, or that ribs should only be parboiled, or if you insist that asparagus must be sautéed with olive oil, it is time to fire up the BBQ.

Quality matters when it comes to barbecue.  The graders at the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) certify that meats and other products are of a desired quality.  Our grades account for factors such as tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. These are major selling points for any good barbecued foods. When shopping for meats, you can easily identify the USDA grade on most packages. Read more »

North Carolina Forest Products Producers get Marketing Help from Recovery Act Funds

A Forest Service Recovery Act grant to the Land-of-Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) to implement the Western North Carolina Forest Products Cooperative Marketing Project has provided the momentum to help local businesses expand and diversify while offering producers and consumers a practical means of finding one another.

LOSRC is a non-profit, voluntary association of local governments that manages regional projects and provides services to its members in the areas of planning, economic and community development since 1966. Read more »

Vote For Your Favorite Video Today!

The public voting period for the Communities on the Move Video Challenge is in full swing!  Browse our video gallery and vote for your favorites daily until Friday, May 11th. These videos showcase some of the innovative approaches community and faith-based groups are taking to encouraging healthier lifestyles for kids.

The Video Challenge encourages faith-based and neighborhood organizations to create one-to-three minute videos highlighting their work to make their communities places of wellness. Participants were invited to show how they are promoting healthy eating, physical activity, and access to healthy, affordable food for children.  Your vote counts: winners will be invited to visit Washington, DC to share their videos with the First Lady at the White House! Read more »