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USDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF COMMUNICATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
JULY-AUGUST 1974 NO. 12
SUGAR AND SPICE '
And Thiamin And Protein And Vitamins. A nursery rhym k .
established what little girls and little boys are made% .
which may not be nutrition labeling in the true sense, ..
does point up the fact that people like to know what thi
are made of. It was partly this human curiosity that led "
consumers to request that the nutrients in the foods they eat
be listed on the labels. In response, federal regulations
and laws were passed. Initial responsibility for nutrition
labeling was assigned to the Food and Drug Administration under
its authority to insure safe, pure, and wholesome foods. The
U.S. Department of Agriculture, with responsibility to over-
see meat and poultry, is currently developing nutrition infor-
mation to be used on labels for these products. Already shop-
pers will find nutrition information on many foods at the
supermarket -- with more to come. By 1975 all fortified foods
and all foods for which a nutrition claim is made must display
nutrition information on the labels. The labels must provide
information on the calories, protein, carbohydrates, fats,
vitamins A and C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, and
iron in the package contents. Cholesterol, fatty acids, and
sodium content may also be included. For information on nutri-
tion labeling, consumers may write the Food and Drug Admini-
stration, Nutrition Labeling, Rockville, Maryland 20852 or con-
tact the nearest FDA consumer affairs office. Also available
are two 15-minute films, one featuring Dick Van Dyke and one
with Pearl Bailey. The films, entitled "Read the Label, Set
A Better Table," are on loan from FDA consumer affairs offices
and from Modern Talking Pictures, 2323 New Hyde Park Road, New
Hyde Park, N.Y. 11040. Copies of the films may also be pur-
chased for $58.25 each from the Sales Branch, National Audio
Visual Center, GSA, Washington, D.C. 20409.
FOOD SHOPPING METHODS
Differ In Some Areas. If you think it's a hassle to do the
family's weekly food shopping at the supermarket, consider:
Under new Food Stamp regulations which went into effect on
July 15, families receiving Food Stamps in remote areas of
Alaska can now use food coupons to purchase certain hunting
and fishing equipment for procuring food.
FOR LAZY HAZY DAYS
Put The Kids In A Blend. In a recent nationwide survey, mothers reported to
USDA's Economic Research Service that they prefer a blend of cotton and polyester
for most of their children's warm weather clothing. The mothers based their
preference on practical qualities shared by the blends and the children: Both
are washable and need no ironing. For nightwear, cotton is tops with mothers
because it is cool and absorbent, feels comfortable on the skin, and is long last-
ing. More than three-fourths of the mothers said they were very interested in
having children's clothing treated to be flame resistant and were willing to pay
extra for this featdue. .nly about a third said they had seen flame-resistant
clothing -*- pfnarllypii' wear -- in stores. A majority also indicated that
clothing labels do not sbow the kinds of information they are most interested in
-- shrinkage, flammabilitvQ Ind instructions on how to care for the garment.
Copies of" "Mobrars' Aqtttfes Toward Cotton and Other Fibers in Children's Light-
weight ClotYiig" (MRR-T~2-rire available free from the Office of Communication,
U.S. Depaftme'. of Agrirc4' f re, Washington, D.C. 20250.
UNDERSTANDING FOOD PRICES
The Real Facts About Food. Food prices have gone up. How much and why? A new
USDA publication, "The Real Facts About Food," has the answers and can make you
into an expert on the subject. The 24-page booklet is full of bits of information
that give the casual reader a quick short-course in understanding food prices and
what's behind tomorrow's headlines on the cost-of-living. It includes a short
quiz so you can check your food price knowledge. Single free copies of "The Real
Facts About Food" may be obtained by writing to the Special Reports Division,
Room 407-A, Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington,
D.C. 20250. A slide set/filmstrip version of "The Real Facts About Food" has
also been produced. The 155-frame slide set with narration is available for $35
from the Photography Division, Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agri-
culture, Washington, D.C. 20250. The filmstrip may be ordered for $15 from
Photo Lab, Inc., 3825 Georgia Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011.
About Bacon, Sweetpotatoes, and Celery. One-pound packages of regularly sliced
bacon contains about 20 to 22 slices; thick-sliced bacon runs about 12 slices to
the pound To be U.S. No. 1, sweetpotatoes must be firm, fairly smooth,
clean, and defect-free Slightly wilted celery can be freshened by placing
the freshly trimmed butt end in water. These helpful hints come from three new
information sheets on how to buy, store, and care for bacon, sweetpotatoes, and
celery. The sheets, prepared by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, are de-
signed as teaching aids for persons conducting food, nutrition, and consumer
education programs. The. one-page, illustrated sheets can be used as "camera copy"
for offset reproduction. Copies of "How To Buy Bacon," "How To Buy Sweetpotatoes,"
and "How To Buy Celery" are available free from the Information Division, Agri-
cultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
TOMATOES IN THE GREENHOUSE
For Eating And Learning. A sizable portion of the vegetable needs of the Byng,
Oklahoma, school lunch program is furnished right in the classroom, according to
USDA's Food and Nutrition Service. The key to the food production is a course
in horticulture being taught in the rural Oklahoma school system. Greenhouses,
constructed by students in coordinated vocational education training programs,
provide the school cafeterias with almost all their tomatoes, plus substantial
amounts of leaf lettuce and some eggplant. Each semester a new vegetable is added
to the growing list. Both horticulture and vocational agriculture classes main-
tain the greenhouses, which during the first year of operation -- the 1972-73
school year -- produced 3,400 pounds of tomatoes. The addition of a plant farm --
actually a small air-cooled greenhouse -- allows tomato plants to be started dur-
ing the hot summer months and in production by mid-September. A storage room has
been built adjacent to the high school cafeteria to keep the produce fresh until
used. The horticulture class has been an academic and financial success: Grad-
uates have found ready employment in local greenhouses and the produce allowed
the school system to maintain its 30-cent school lunch prices. Although most of
Byng's students were already eating the Type A lunch, helping to grow some of the
school's food has stimulated more student interest in meals that are served.
NEW USDA MOVIE
How A Good Egg Makes The Grade. That important little oval, the egg, is the sub-
ject of a new USDA movie. The 12-minute presentation, designed for use by home
economists; extension specialists; consumer, civic, and industry groups; and other
consumer educators, provides consumers with information on egg grades and sizes.
It explains what the USDA grade on a carton of eggs means, how differences in egg
quality are determined, and the role federal-state graders play in assuring top
quality eggs in the marketplace. The 16 mm color film, produced by USDA's Agri-
cultural Marketing Service, is the story of modern egg production and marketing.
"Egg Grades -- A Matter of Quality" is available for sale from Motion Picture
Service, Office of Communication, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
20250. Prints are $67 each. The film can also be borrowed from Cooperative
Extension Service Libraries at Land Grant Colleges in the 50 states and Puerto
Substitute For Wood Pulp. The supply of wood for making paper is not keeping up
with demand. By 1980, according to expert estimates, the gap between the wood
supply and the pulp demand will be wide. Kenaf, a fiber plant similar to hemp,
shows promise of filling part of the gap. Kenaf is a rapidly-growing annual found
in wild and cultivated forms in several temperate and tropical areas of the world.
The woody stems of the plant, which reach the height of 12 to 20 feet at time of
harvest, yield a good paper pulp at less cost than hardwood. A commercial-type
bond paper as well as strong kraft papers can be manufactured from it. Research
by USDA's Agricultural Research Service indicate kenaf is an easy crop to grow
and is adaptable to mechanized farming. They expect commercial production to
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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TRAVELERS INTEREST USDA INSPECTORS
Bag And Baggage. Federal quarantines prohibit bringing many agricultural items
into the U.S. That's because foreign insects and diseases harbored in these items
can cause severe damage to U.S. crops, forests, gardens, and livestock. And it
happens -- to the tune of about $12 billion annually. The quarantines apply not
only to commercial shippers but also to vacationers, tourists, and businessmen
coming into the country: All passenger baggage -- including handbags -- is in-
spected at U.S. ports of arrival by inspectors of USDA's Animal and Plant Health
Inspection Service. To assist these travelers, APHIS has issued "Travelers'
Tips," a new publication that spells out what agricultural items can and cannot
be brought into the U.S. The booklet includes a list of foods, plants, and ani-
mal and plant products commonly available in foreign countries, noting whether
or not they are restricted entry. There are tips on what to do if you visited
a farm overseas, are bringing in a car that has been driven abroad, or want to
obtain permission to bring in or mail in restricted items. If you are planning
-- or dreaming -- of a trip abroad, checking beforehand the information in "Trav-
elers' Tips" could save you unnecessary delay and possibly money on your return.
Free copies of the new booklet may be obtained by writing "Travelers' Tips," U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
Not Necessarily More Expensive. As you check over convenience foods at the gro-
cery store, have you thought, "I could make it from scratch for half the price"?
On some items, yes. On others, convenience foods may prove to be more economical
than if you bought the fresh product and prepared it at home. A survey conducted
in early 1973 by USDA's Economic Research Service found that, on the average, 59
percent of the selected convenience foods had a per-cost serving equal to or less
than comparable food in fresh form or prepared in the home. Among vegetables,
the survey team discovered that 7 in 10 ready-to-cook items had a lower cost per
serving than their fresh counterparts. For example, frozen green beans ran 8.1
cents a serving versus 8.9 cents for fresh beans; frozen cut corn cost 8.5 cents
compared with 15.2 cents for fresh cut corn. Frozen french fries were 4.7 cents
against 10 cents for home prepared, and dehydrated mashed potatoes ran 3.7 cents
versus 5.5 cents for home prepared potatoes. Frozen orange juice cost only one-
third as much as the same serving of fresh orange juice and bottled lemon juice,
one-fifth as much as fresh juice. Of baked goods, 75 percent of the convenience
products had higher costs than home prepared. Slightly over half the pork, beef,
chicken, and turkey convenience foods were less expensive per serving, due in
part to more efficient use by the processors of meat from a carcass.
SERVICE is a monthly newsletter 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 Communication, U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250. Telephone (202)
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