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  • The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) wants you to add food safety to your back to school list. “Aw, Mom, I’ll be fine,” says a teen off to college for the first time when cautioned about handling food safely. An elementary school student tells his dad not to mention putting the cold pack in his lunchbox. “Don’t bug me in front of my friends,” says the gradeschooler who feels embarrassed. “Charlie’s folks don’t make him keep his lunch cold.” Strong, healthy students of all ages may feel invincible to becoming ill from food. It may be the “superhero” mentality of video games and...
  • Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools (a la carte and vending machine items) will be subject to new nutritional standards. This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, “competitive foods” in schools will be subject to new nutritional standards. Competitive foods include à la carte cafeteria items like pizza, French fries, and ice cream, as well as snacks and beverages sold in vending...
  • This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio. One of the most exciting aspects of my job as the head of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and an advocate for statistical literacy is to see students coming into the profession of statistics. We are fortunate, according to Bob Rodriguez, past-president of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in a column published in ASA’s AMSTATNEWS, “that the number of students majoring or minoring in...
  • In honor of back to school week, USDA offers an array of youth-focused curriculum and learning resources. Photo Courtesy of Arlington Public Schools. It’s that time of year! Back to school season is upon us and agencies across the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working to ensure a stronger and healthier future for our nation’s next generation of leaders. That means providing a happy and healthy learning environment for our kids, and helping them grow up with the tools they need to succeed. Here we’ve assembled a few youth-focused curriculum and learning resources from USDA to help...
  • Teachers and students from Adams-Friendship Middle School in Adams, Wisconsin are growing a beautiful People’s Garden in the interior courtyard of their school. Numerous excellent school garden programs have sprouted up across the country. School gardens often provide food that improves a child’s diet and nutrition, areas for learning, places for pleasure and recreation, as well as a continuing lesson in environmental stewardship and civic pride. But how do they take root? School gardens are sown with similar considerations but vary based upon its geographic location, funding, grade level...
  • MyPlate On Campus Ambassadors are encouraged to use resources, such as this 10 Tips handout, to promote healthy eating to their peers. The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion launched a new initiative this past March, MyPlate On Campus, to help spread healthy eating messages to young adults during their college years.  MyPlate On Campus is a unique program that encourages students to improve their own eating and physical activity habits as well as promote healthy eating to their peers. Most college students are emerging out on their own for the first time and perhaps vulnerable to...
  • USDA worked with academia and industry over the past several years to develop a system to determine beef tenderness, using an objective scale to ensure that cuts with the new label consistently meet consumer expectations. Tenderness is one of the most significant factors affecting the overall consumer acceptance of beef cuts.  Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Beef Quality Grading program is a useful tool in predicting overall consumer acceptance of beef, other factors besides those assessed by the USDA Quality Grading System affect beef tenderness.  In other words, beef...
  • The Mountain Fire in the San Bernardino National Forest in California began on July 15, 2013 and consumed 27, 531 acres until it was 100 percent contained on July 30. The U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response Team is now conducting a rapid assessment of the fire area to assess the damage. (U.S. Forest Service photo) This blog is part of a series from the U.S. Forest Service on its wildland firefighting program to increase awareness about when and how the agency suppresses fires, to provide insights into the lives of those fighting fires, and to explain some of the cutting-edge...
  • Back-to-school is an exciting time of year that provides new opportunities for teaching and learning.  The USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion offers great nutrition resources for young children, parents, and educators for this upcoming school year.  ChooseMyPlate.gov now features MyPlate Kids’ Place, a new section of the website designed for children between the ages of 8 and 12 years old. MyPlate Kids’ Place offers fun resources for kids, such as games, videos, and songs, that encourage them to make better food and physical activity choices throughout the school year.  In...
  • In agriculture, we talk a lot about sustainability.  As a method of growing crops, caring for ecosystems like forests or wetlands, or even the economic sustainability of businesses—we look at this word from all angles.  But there’s another component to consider: cultural sustainability. As a nation of immigrants, we have many rich and complex influences woven into the history of our country.  Foods we eat, holidays we celebrate, how we create goods or perform services—these are all things that are shaped by the cultural identities of our families and the communities around us. For many...

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Last Modified: 03/21/2012