Service

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Material Information

Title:
Service USDA's report to consumers
Portion of title:
USDA's report to consumers
Physical Description:
: ; 27 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Governmental and Public Affairs
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Communication
United States -- Dept. of Agriculture. -- Office of Information
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Governmental and Public Affairs
Place of Publication:
Washington
Frequency:
monthly
regular

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Consumer education -- Periodicals -- United States   ( lcsh )
Genre:
federal government publication   ( marcgt )

Notes

Dates or Sequential Designation:
no. 1- Nov. 1963-
Numbering Peculiarities:
Publication suspended Dec. 1979-
Issuing Body:
Issued Nov. 1963-Feb. 1973 by the Department's Office of Information; Mar. 1973-Dec. 1977 by the Office of Communication.
General Note:
Issues prior to Jan. 1978 were classed: A 21.29:(nos.)

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001360420
oclc - 01716336
notis - AGM1835
issn - 0037-2544
System ID:
AA00012167:00068


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IUSDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-OFFICE OF INFORMATIONAe BIOPN."tC. 2025C


FEBRUARY 1973 No.


PLANTING THOUGHTS

Seed Catalog Fellow Traveler. As you bring out t Pe/tala-
logs about this time of year and dream of luscious, home grown
vegetables, a new USDA publication is just the thing to check.
"Growing Vegetables in the Home Garden" willbe of interest to
any gardener, but especially to those whose dreams exceed their
experience in the garden. Information on selecting a site, pre-
paring the soil, choosing tools, selecting seed, and planting
and caring for the garden is given in detail. One section lists
specific vegetables and their growing needs. Should you still
need help, there is a list of State Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tions where advice may be obtained. Copies of "Growing Vegetables
in the Home Garden" (G-202) are for sale for 70 cents each from
the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402.

POLLUTION AND TREES

Some Can Take It; Some Can't. When the murky air clears and your
eyes stop smarting, look at the trees. There is a good chance
they are turning brown, losing leaves or needles, and otherwise
succumbing. It's no mystery about the cause for your smarting
eyes and dying trees--the culprit is air pollution. Scientists
have not yet been able to amass a complete report on the effects
of air pollution on trees. They do know, however, sources of
major tree despoilers such as sulfur dioxide, fluorides, and
ozone which result from a combination of industrial and natural
causes, and that individual trees respond differently to the
numerous pollutants. A plant pathologist of USDA's Forest
Service has compiled in a little booklet a list of known re-
sponses of both hardwoods and softwoods to various pollutants.
Various species of trees are rated as tolerant, intermediate, or
sensitive to about 12 pollutants--where the response is known.
For instance, eastern white pine is sensitive to sulfur dioxide,
hydrogen fluoride, ozone, oxides of nitrogen, chlorine, and mer-
cury vapor, but is tolerant of hydrogen chloride and peroxyacetyl
nitrate. Home and professional gardeners, landscapers, arborists
or anyone planning to plant a tree will find the booklet of help
in making a selection likely to survive pollution in their areas.
Free copies of the booklet, "Our Air: n.-it for Trees," are
available from: Information Services, Forest Service, U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, U~':
Darby, Pennsylvania 19082.









RICE IS EVEN NICER


The Shape Of Things To Come. Rice has a new look. Instead of the usual oval
shape, rice may soon be found in stores as squares, circles, triangles, or even
stars. The reason is Rice Shapes, a new frozen rice product created by scien-
tists of USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Besides the variety of shapes,
the new product can take on a variety of tastes by the addition of spices,
bellpeppers, onions, tomato paste, ground potato or bean flakes. Tasty enough
to be eaten as a snack, Rice Shapes can also be served as the carbohydrate por-
tion of a balanced meal or as a partial meat substitute: Soy flour or other
protein supplements can be added to increase the product's protein content.
For the housewife, preparing this happy combination of interesting shapes,
flavors, and nutrition is simple. Frozen Rice Shapes can be baked in the oven
much like french fries, deep fried, or even skewered for a rice ka-bob.

STREAM CLEANING

With Cotton. The old housekeeping standby, the cotton rag, is showing promise
of being just as useful in the war on pollution--as a stream cleaner. Scien-
tists of USDA's Agricultural Research Service, looking for new durable press
finishes for cotton, may have opened the way to removing mercury from water.
During their research, the chemists discovered that several compounds they
are testing have a high affinity for metal salts and can make cotton a highly
efficient "trap" for water-borne heavy metals. The trap, which can be regen-
erated for repeated use, is capable of reducing the mercury content of contam-
inated water below the 5 parts per billion now permitted in drinking water.
The treatments, which are simple and can be accomplished on standard textile
finishing equipment used for durable press cottons, offer intriguing stream-
cleaning possibilities. For example, a continuous belt of fabric could be
passed into a mercury-polluted stream to absorb the mercury, squeezed through
rolls to remove excess water, immersed in a regenerating bath and then returned
to the stream to continue its mercury scavenging.

WHAT HOMEMAKERS KNOW AND DO

About Food And Nutrition. Preliminary findings of a nationwide USDA survey re-
veals some interesting facts about what homemakers know and what they do about
food and nutrition. Conclusions of this early report indicate that homemakers
know more facts about food and nutrition than they apply; that even when the
homemaker is not satisfied all family members are eating a desirable diet, she
does little or nothing about it; and that food selection is a highly individual
matter--the fact that a full assortment of food is available in the home is no
assurance family members will choose to eat it. The survey, conducted under the
direction of USDA's Agricultural Research Service, was initiated to find answers
to what the U.S. homemaker knows about nutritive values of foods, what her ideas
are on handling foods to preserve nutritive value, appearance and flavor, what
eating habits or patterns need to be changed to improve the nutritional health
of the Nation. To bring about such changes, it is first necessary to know why
homemakers choose the foods they do. A full report on the survey will be pub-
lished by the Department at a later date with further analysis of the data.


-2-









UPS AND DOWNS


And Some Reasons Why. Fresh vegetable prices have a way of posting dramatic ups
and downs at the grocery store while processed items are likely to stay more
constant. Consider the potato. As chronicled in The Vegetable Situation, a
publication of USDA's Economic Research Service, farmers grew more potatoes
than the market wanted in 1970 and 1971. So, farm prices went down. So did
retail prices--but not as much--since shipping and marketing costs tend to
remain constant. With farm prices down, farmers produced 8 percent fewer
potatoes in 1972. Such small changes in production often bring larger changes
in prices. By December 1972 farm prices of potatoes were more than a third
higher than the year before and retail prices were up a fifth--to $1.00 for
a 10-pound sack of No. l's. The Vegetable Situation forecasts that retail
prices will average over $1.00 during the first half of 1973 and seasonally
low summer supplies of potatoes are likely to keep prices up the second half.
Higher prices are an inducement to grow more. Forecasters look for a bigger
fall potato crop in 1973, likely signalling lower prices after harvest. Thus
another up-and-down cycle is completed. Meanwhile, what happened to processed
potatoes? The price of frozen french fries has hardly budged, moving from 16
to 17 cents for a 9-ounce package, nationwide, during the last three years.
Price gains for instant mashed potatoes have been minor, too. Processors can
maintain more level pricing because they buy extra-large quantities when prices
are best and can store the finished product for a long time.

k *

The Vegetable Situation is one of a series of USDA reports--issued several
times a year--designed to analyze the current situation, forecast what's ahead
for major food and farm commodities, and help to explain the reasons behind
retail food price developments. Economists, home economists, teachers, writers,
the press, food marketing specialists, and others should find these reports
valuable as an informative source and reference. For a free sample copy of
The Vegetable Situation, write to Information Division, Office of Management
Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.

A BIRD IN A CAGE

Can't Choose His Environment. Owners of caged birds should keep an eye out for
some hazards that wintertime can bring to their pets, according to Extension
Service veterinarians. Keeping the bird out of drafts, of course, is a pri-
mary precaution against pneumonia and respiratory complications. Another pro-
blem is low humidity or "close" atmosphere that sometimes results in homes
with central heating. Lack of moisture in the air can soon make the bird as
dry as its dried-out feathers. Canaries and parakeets do well at temperatures
from 65 to 70 degrees Farenheit, so keep the bird in a cool part of a house if
you prefer warmer temperatures or cover the cage at night if you turn the
thermostat down at night. If your bird is allowed free flight around the house,
you usually don't worry about open windows during the winter. However, a fire
in an open fireplace is a real danger. Be sure a guard is over the fireplace
before releasing the bird.




UNIVERSITY Y ,Cf; t L,_firA
II I I I11111 PIIHIl II III III1 11111
3 1262 08740 1120
WHAT'S IN A DATE?

Fewer Shopper Complaints, For One Thing. Stores which open date food may have
fewer consumer complaints, according to a recent report from the U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture. A joint study by USDA's Economic Research Service and
the Consumer Research Institute found that pack dates (when the item was packed
or processed) and pull dates (the last day on which the item should be sold) re-
duced by about 50 percent the incidence of shopper complaints about freshness(
food. Eighteen percent of the shoppers interviewed in a national telephone ':
survey complained about food going scale sooner than expected. To find.out if
open dates could affect shoppers' satisfaction with foods, pull or pack dates
were tried on about 600 perishable and semi-perishable items in selected food
chain stores. Items chosen for open dates were those that had received "not
satisfactory" ratings from the telephone interviews. After eight weeks of
open dating, fewer complaints were reported--even on some items which were not
date labeled. Single free copies of the report, "Food Dating: Shoppers' Re-
action and Impact on Retail Foodstores" (MRR-984) are available from the Office
of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.


COIO COMPRAR

It's Poultry This Time. Chickens, turkeys, and other poultry are subjects of
the newest addition to USDA's Spanish-language "how to buy food" series. "Como
Comprar Las Aves de Corral" (How To Buy Poultrv), explains how knowing USDA
grades for poultry and the class (age) of the birds can help consumers make
better choices at the supermarket. The pamphlet, prepared by USDA's Agricul-
tural Marketing Service, also gives tips on storing and cooking poultry. Single
free copies of "Como Comprar Las Aves de Corral" (G-157-S) may be requested
from the Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington,
D.C. 20250.


FEBRUARY PLENTIFUL FOODS

Protein-Rich Foods Are Featured. Dollar-conscious food shoppers should find
February Plentiful Foods, broiler-fryers, peanuts, and peanut products, abun-
dant and relatively good buys. In March, peanuts and peanut products along
with turkeys and dry beans will be on the Plentiful List.

WHITHER IHOU GOES?

Moving Along. To haul the tons of products from farm to consumer, the U.S. has
over 200,000 miles of railroads, 3.3 million miles of intercity highways, and
26,000 miles of improved watern ays.

SERVICE is a monthly newuleccer of consumer interest. It is designed for those
who report to the individual consumer rather than for mass distribution. For
information about items in this issue, write: Lillie Vincent, Editor of Service,
Office of Information, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
Telephone (202) 447-5437.

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