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USDA'S REPORT TO CONSUMERS
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICE OF INFORMATION WASHINGTON, D.C. 20250
February 1965 No. 15
What Retailers Think You Especially Need. Retail clothing stores
across the country say they're interested in merchandising all-wool
clothing that's completely machine washable, and, in their opinion,
consumers especially need this easy-care convenience in skirts,
slacks, sweaters, socks, and blankets. A U. S. Department of
Agriculture survey of retail clothing stores to determine market
potential showed that completely launderable all-wool products could
use 131 million pounds of wool a year. That means the USDA-
developed technique to make wool washable without shrinkage has
two-way benefits: Consumers can cut clothing care costs. And wool
growers have a sizeable new market for wool. Some washable wool
is already in your stores.
They're Stretching Uses of Stretch Cotton. New uses for stretch
cotton being developed by U. S. Department of Agriculture research
may eventually put cotton back at the top of the list of most-used
textile fibers. And that means more's in store for consumers:
Men's T-shirts with stretch possibilities from size 38 to 44;
women's dresses, auto upholstery, and especially items of clothing
where warmth is important. Since USDA-developed stretch cotton,
manufacturers have already approved its use in bathing suits,
sweaters, knitwear, and hosiery.
Fruit From A Spray Gun? Sound impossible? Well, U. S. Department
of Agriculture researchers discovered that a growth retardant
chemical sprayed on apple trees not only dwarfed the trees so more
can be planted in the same area, it caused the trees to have from
2 to 12 times more flowers. That can mean more fruit in the fall.
Still another amazing effect--when the spray was applied on apple
trees several days after they were in full bloom the fruit even
held its quality longer in storage. Until the scientists
thoroughly test cumulative effects on the trees ana fruit, the
process won't be approved for use by fruit growris. But it does
look promising for more and better fruit.
- 2 -
From New York To San Francisco 3 Times. Totaling up the meat it inspected for
wholesomeness last year, the U. S. Department of Agriculture found that it
would fill almost a million refrigerated freight cars. Put end to end, they'd
reach from New York to San Francisco 3 times. In all, 29 billion pounds of
red meat was inspected. Of this, almost 20 billion pounds were re-inspected
as it was processed into prepared meat foods such as frankfurters, sausages,
frozen meat dinners, and canned meat products. In safeguarding consumers,
USDA inspectors condemned and diverted from food channels about a million pounds,
or 33 freight cars of meat and meat products each working day because they
were found unfit for food.
There's A Frozen Tomato In Your Future. Until now freezing techniques hadn't
conquered the tomato successfully. But a new freezing trick--low, low temperature
freezing with liquid nitrogen--makes good quality, fresh frozen tomato slices
possible, the U. S. Department of Agriculture reports. It's being used on other
fruits and vegetables which have freezing problems,--avocados, melons, and papayas.
They also may soon be common at the frozen food counters. The new technique
improves the quality of asparagus, strawberries, and green beans too.
Kona Coffee Coming. Coffee lovers in mainland U. S. may get a chance to enjoy
distinctive Kona coffee from Hawaii before too long. Instant, too! Improved
handling practices and jet air-freight will also bring you just-like-you'd-pick-
yourself ripe Hawaiian papayas and pineapples. And a possibility from Florida
is guacamole, a frozen avocado salad, U. S. Department of Agriculture food
marketing specialists say.
George Washington Never Saw So Many. Tasty red tart cherries, of course. This
year's whopping crop broke all records. And because cherries are favorite fare
in honor of Washington's birthday month, you'll find them featured at your stores
this month, the Agricultural Marketing Service reports.
Take Time To Check Wrappers. When you buy frozen poultry, be sure the wrapping
isn't torn. Frozen food that is exposed to air or is poorly packaged dries out
and develops off-flavors, U. S. Department of Agriculture food experts say. And,
of course, look for the U. S. Department of Agriculture poultry inspection mark
for wholesomeness--and the grade mark to help you compare quality and price.
What's Up? What's Down? Potato supplies this winter will be much smaller than
a year ago, and during the first half of 1965 sweet potatoes will be again in
light supply. Through the winter months relatively high prices are in prospect
for both, U. S. Department of Agriculture crop reports show. But there'll be
more tomatoes, and substantially more celery, more broccoli and spinach.
PLENTIFULS On The March. Food markets will be featuring eggs, peanuts and peanut
products during March. Other plentiful foods include rice, canned pink salmon,
red tart cherries, apples, canned pears, carrots, cabbage and celery. Foods in
abundant supply usually mean top quality and reasonable prices.
Want To Know About Electric Heating? If you're building a new house, or remodeling,
you may find the answers to some of your questions in a one page fact sheet on
"Installation of Electric Heating" prepared by the U. S. Department of Agriculture.
It explains the 5 types of electric heating units--baseboard heaters, built-in wall
heaters, electric floor heaters, ceiling heating cable, and ceiling-mounted heaters.
It also gives facts about installation. For a copy of "Installing Electric Heating
Factsheet," send post card to Rural Electrification Administration, U. S.
Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 20250.
Help Your Community. Civic groups and community leaders eager to give a standstill
rural community a new lease on life will find a new U. S. Department of Agriculture
publication helpful. It shows the dramatic results local people can accomplish,
through organized effort. For a free copy of "Rural Areas Development at Work"
(PA-625), send post card to SERVICE, Office of Information, U. S. Department
of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 20250.
Pointers on Plumbing. Even when a plumbing emergency is of major proportions, there
are steps you can take to prevent damage before the plumber gets there, U. S.
Department of Agriculture engineers say. What to do in an emergency, as well
as simple plumbing repairs you can do yourself, are explained in a new USDA booklet.
For extensive repair or alterations, a qualified, licensed plumber is recommended.
These jobs usually require authorization from local authorities, possibly
followed by an inspection of completed work. For "Simple Plumbing Repairs"(FB-2202),
send ten cents to the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, D. C. 20402.
PLANTS AND INSECTS
House Plants Sickly? Overwatering is the commonest cause of trouble, U. S.
Department of Agriculture plant specialists say. So slow down and see.
Research Stresses Killing Pests Without Pesticides. U. S. Department of Agriculture
and cooperating state researchers will put considerable emphasis in 1965 on insect
pest control that eventually may lead to reduced use of insecticides. New
possibilities include biological control (insects that kill other insects, parasites,
or insect diseases); insect sterilization; developing "attractants" which can lure
the insect to traps or poison; or developing plants more resistant to insects.
Each method has its own merits, and limitations, and each is being studied with
an eye to integration into an overall pest control plan. Insects destroy billions
of dollars worth of crops a year, and add to consumer costs, too.
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The Plum That Went To School. Want your child to learn to eat new foods? Or
familiar foods in new forms? Then encou-age him to participate in the National
School Lunch Program administered by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. He'll
likely try new foods when he sees other children eating them. Purple plums from the
Northwest were a hit, for example, when introduced to the children in the South.
And when the National School Lunch Program carried corn bread to California, the
kids wanted it once a week. The program, which enables 17 million children to
get a lunch for about 27 cents each, has been a major factor in introducing new
foods, too. It teaches children how to choose well-balanced diets for good health.
Scientists, You, And The Sweet Corn. Know how irritated you get when you pull
down the husks of sweet corn in the grocery store or your kitchen and spot a
worm? Well, U. S. Department of Agriculture research scientists are coming to
your rescue--and the farmer's. They've found the substance in the silks and fresh
kernels which makes the corn tasty to the worm. In fact, if they soak paper in
this substance, the worms will eat the paper. Next step: Develop corn which won't
be so tasty to worms. Or reproduce the substance for a bait to trap the worm
before it can damage the corn, and reduce the need for insectide sprays.
Don't Pour Vitamins Down The Drain. If you cook vegetables in lots of water and
then pour the water down the drain, you may lose nutrients important to your health.
Some minerals, vitamins C and the B vitamins are soluble in water. So cook
vegetables only until tender in just enough water to prevent scorching, U. S.
Department of Agriculture nutritionists suggest. And cover tightly. They say the
so-called "waterless" cooking actually refers to cooking vegetables with only
the water remaining after you rinse themplus their own juice. This method does
not permit quick cooking, however. And it does not conserve nutritive values any
better than cooking vegetables quickly in a minimum amount of water in any utensil
with a tight lid that's heavy enough to prevent escape of vapor and steam.
Smart Storage. Since meat takes a big share of your food dollar, storing it
properly means money--and better eating for your family. Here's what U. S.
Department of Agriculture nutritionists suggest: Loosen the wrapper on ground
meat, poultry, fish, liver, kidney, brains, and other variety meats. They benefit
from some circulation of air. Store them in the coldest part of the refrigerator,
but use within 1 to 2 days. Roasts, chops, and steaks can be stored safely from
3 to 5 days.
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, SERVICE, Office of Information, U. S. Department
of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 20250.
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