USDA will release its planted acreage report today. Normally, the June report is considered to provide a pretty solid look at planted acreage numbers and begins to fill in the yield outlook. But this year is different. The wet planting season for many growers has left them with a lot of unplanted acres, flooded acres and acres yet to be designated for replanting.
Timing on Pending FTA’s in Question
A former USDA Trade Chief disputes claims by top House Democrat on Trade, Sander Levin that U.S. trade deal timing is less important now with Colombia than Korea. Levin, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, says the July 1 Colombia-Canada free trade implementation date is less critical for the U.S. than the same date for a Korea-European Union deal:
"With Korea, July 1 is clearly important as to agriculture in Columbia. A lot of the impact already comes from their agreement with Mercosur and other countries."
Mercosur is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Follow Food Safety Guidelines This 4th of July
Summertime and cookouts go together like peaches and ice cream, and the Fourth of July is one of the biggest days of the year for cookouts and picnics - but with it comes warm weather - in which bacteria can multiply and double themselves in 20 minutes. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Meat and Poultry Hotline Manager Dianne Van says there are 325-thousand hospitalizations and as many as five-thousand deaths from foodborne illness each year. Bacteria can go from a small number to millions in an hour - but Van says there is one very important way to make sure that doesn’t happen:
"Keep your hands, the utensils, the countertops clean when you're preparing the food. Make sure that you've washed your hands thoroughly. We reccomend washing hands for 20 seconds and a way to remember that is to sing Happy Birthday."
Van says singing Happy Birthday twice while washing hands with soap and warm water covers that 20-second requirement. She also says avoiding cross-contamination is important:
"When you've cut chicken up to be taken to the grill, be sure you wash that knife thoroughly before you slice bread or slice vegetables. You don't want the juices from the raw meat to get onto salad items or onto bread that's not going to be cooked further."
That goes for all meats - not just chicken. Van says to take food to the grill on a plate and also bring a clean plate for the cooked food, that way the bacteria and raw juices don’t crossover to the cooked food. She also stresses the importance of keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.