As we approach the end of the year, millions of Americans are counting their blessings and many are bringing Christmas trees into their homes to celebrate the season. At USDA, the Forest Service helps with the nation’s holiday traditions by providing a tree to be displayed as the Capitol Christmas Tree. This year’s tree, a 65-feet tall Blue spruce, will be will be officially lit today at 5:00 PM EST by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Kaitlyn Ferenick, a 7th grade student from Arizona. Read more »
Earlier this year, the President launched the SAVE Award – a program that offers every federal employee to chance to submit their ideas for how government can save money and perform better. In just a few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received over 38,000 submissions, many of which will be implemented in the coming months. Now for a twist, the “final four” SAVE Award ideas were selected as finalists and will be voted on beginning today. Voting is open to federal employees as well as the general public. Watch President Obama’s open call for votes here. Read more »
Despite the chilly air and light frost, the atmosphere at the Groundbreaking Ceremony I attended last month for the Winterport Water District was warm as partners greeted one another and remarked on the terrific project they were about to break ground upon. Read more »
The Red Cloud Indian School is located about five miles north of Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Shannon County are often listed as being among the poorest areas in this Nation. Within this Third World environment the school provides a safe learning environment for Native American students. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that President Obama signed into law in February will help provide a much-needed economic boost to this rural area. Recently, I joined Area Director Tim Potts to present the School with federal funds totaling $941,000. The money will be used to provide teacher housing, a new heating and cooling system and a sewer lift station at the school. The money is a combination of Recovery Act funds and dollars from USDA Rural Development’s standard allocation to South Dakota. Read more »
USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook was in Phoenix last week and addressed Native American contractors regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as well as the many programs Rural Development has to offer including the additional programs that came with the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »
We hope you had a joyful (and food-safe) holiday meal. We suspect that like most of us you’ll be enjoying the goodies for days to come.
One highlight of our run-up to the holiday was our live Facebook chat on food safety on Nov. 12. USDA food safety expert Diane Van took questions on a variety of topics, but there were quite a few about handling leftovers.
A sampling of Diane’s answers that will help you stay food-safe for some folks’ favorite meals of the holiday season:
- Put your food away within two hours of serving it. Don’t leave it out on a buffet longer than that to pick at!
- Store the leftovers in small, shallow containers so they cool quickly.
- Store the turkey and stuffing separately.
- Reheat leftovers until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F or until the food is hot and steaming.
- Eat leftovers within three to four days – use gravy within one to two days. If you have more than you can eat within that period, freeze as soon as possible.
- When frozen to 0 degrees F, leftovers will keep for two to six months for the best quality. That’s right: Your Thanksgiving leftovers can keep at least … the Super Bowl.
For more information on safe handling of leftovers, you can listen to our “Safe Handling of Leftovers” podcast. You can read the script here.
If you have other questions about handling leftovers—or any aspect of food safety—you can check in with USDA’s Ask Karen virtual representative at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Ask_Karen. The question-and-answer service is available 24/7.
You can also call USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854. It’s open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Expert staff can take questions on any food safety topic.