Salmonella and peanuts

first_imgFor the second time in two years, a nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis has been tied to peanut products. This time, more than 570 people have been sickened and more than 1,700 products have been taken off supermarket shelves so far, in what is now the largest food-related recall in the country’s history.Is there something special about peanut products that we should know?Yes, said Mike Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and director of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga. Doyle advises the food industry on how to prevent food-borne illness and food policymakers on strengthening our nation’s food safety regulations.Heat affects quality“What we’ve learned,” Doyle said, “is that peanut butter needs heat over 190 degrees F. for over 40 minutes to kill salmonella, but such lengthy heating times may affect the quality of the product.”In contrast, the recommended temperature for cooking ground beef to kill bacteria is 160 degrees F. for just a few seconds.Peanuts have a high fat content, but unlike meats — which also must be cooked properly to inactivate bacteria — they are low in moisture, Doyle explained. The salmonella are protected against heat inactivation by the high fat content and low moisture of the peanuts.Finding treatment methodsFollowing an outbreak of salmonellosis in 2006-2007 that was linked to peanut butter from a processing plant in south Georgia, Doyle worked closely with the company and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine the type of treatments that will kill salmonella and what practices might be applied at different stages of the process of making peanut butter.Only one critical control point emerged in the studies, Doyle said. “The emphasis needs to be placed on the peanut roaster. The temperature and time for roasting the peanuts needs to be properly applied and monitored.”Contamination of the peanuts after roasting is another issue. Because the quality of peanut butter can suffer from treating it with heat, the emphasis needs to be first on proper roasting of the peanuts, and second on maintaining a salmonella-free environment.“Food safety requires sticking to good manufacturing processes, no matter what food product is involved,” he said.Chocolate difficult, tooPeanuts aren’t the only food with these qualities. Chocolate also can harbor salmonella if not properly treated, Doyle said. Like peanuts, the high-fat, low-moisture cacao beans from which chocolate and cocoa are made must be properly roasted to destroy salmonella.Doyle explained that the high fat content of peanut butter, or chocolate, also protects salmonella in the stomach of the person ingesting these foods if they are contaminated. Even in the acidic environment of a person’s stomach, the fat in these foods continues to provide a protective environment for salmonella, enabling it to survive, and then grow, when it reaches the small intestine.last_img read more

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Energy grants

first_imgFarmers and rural small-business owners can now apply for more than $99 million in loan guarantees or grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to install renewable energy systems. Georgia’s allocation is $10 million for loans and almost $2 million for grants.Funds may be used to purchase and install renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. The maximum grant for renewable energy systems is 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $500,000. Energy efficiency improvement projects are eligible for up to 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $250,000.Feasibility studies now also qualify for grants. The maximum loan guarantee is 75 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $25 million. Combination loan guarantees and grants are also available. Complete program details are available at the website www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/farmbill. Applications are due June 30. Those received after the deadline will be considered in 2011.For more information, contact Craig Scroggs at 404-229-5720 or craig.scroggs@ga.usda.gov; Al Burns at 229-220-5067 or al.burns@ga.usda.gov.last_img read more

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Driving program support

first_imgState Farm Insurance Company has donated $10,000 to the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences in support of the Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Institute.GTIPI, a Conyers-based UGA Extension program housed in the FACS department of human development and family science, will use the funds to expand the Georgia Teens Ride with P.R.I.D.E. (Parents Reducing Injuries and Driver Error) program.P.R.I.D.E. is a free, two-hour course that focuses on seat belts, crash dynamics, Georgia’s teen driving law, parental influence and peer pressure. It is designed to help parents and new teen drivers manage the 40 hours of supervised practice driving time required by law.Roughly 200 PRIDE instructors in Georgia teach an average of 25 parent-teen classes each month. Since the PRIDE program was launched in 2003, more than 13,000 teens have been reached. Students are also informed about State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive program, which provides support and incentives for communities to support safer teen driving.This award will enable GTIPI to expand its outreach to more communities interested in offering proven teen driving training.“This is a natural partnership,” said Don Bower, UGA Extension specialist and FACS professor emeritus. “State Farm is a leader in all kinds of support for safer driving. Their acclaimed “Celebrate My Drive” initiative complements the UGA P.R.I.D.E. program to provide key elements of a comprehensive local teen driver education effort.”For more information, contact GTIPI at (800) 342-9819.last_img read more

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Feral Hogs

first_imgUniversity of Georgia researchers are surveying landowners in Georgia to quantify the economic damage feral swine are causing the state. A new survey, “Feral Swine on Private Lands in Georgia,” has been mailed to 3,000 landowners across Georgia and is being conducted by professor Michael Mengak and students in UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. UGA Extension and the Warnell School are jointly funding the survey. Feral, or wild, swine are estimated to cause in excess of $1.5 billion in damage nationwide, Mengak said. “It is important to understand the nature of feral swine problems and the damage they cause on a local scale,” said Mengak, who also serves as associate dean for outreach in the Warnell School. “This data informs the Georgia state legislature and natural resource managers of the damage and financial hardship feral swine inflict on farmers and other landowners in Georgia.” Mengak and UGA Extension surveyed landowners about feral swine in 2012. Results from that survey were compiled to calculate economic damages caused by feral swine, typically from damage to farmland through rooting and grubbing, and destroying crops of peanuts, corn and cotton. Feral swine caused more than $81 million in damage to crops and farmland in 41 Georgia counties in 2011, Mengak said. The new, eight-page survey will ask landowners a variety of questions about issues they’ve noticed with feral swine, how owners attempt to control them on their property and whether they feel that feral swine are a nuisance or a benefit. The survey was mailed to registered farmers and to rural landowners outside of metro areas who own at least 5 acres of land. Survey recipients were randomly selected from a large Georgia database. Questions ask when damage was first noticed, what kind of damage was caused, what methods were used to control the feral swine — including lethal means — and how much money is estimated lost due to the feral swine. Researchers also want to know if any landowners prefer to see feral swine on their property and their opinions on whether they think the swine carry diseases or are harmful to other wildlife. “From our previous survey, farmers told us feral swine are very destructive and not welcome in the environment,” Mengak said.Landowners who receive the survey are asked to fill in as much as they can or wish to, then mail it back within two weeks, Mengak said. Survey responses will remain anonymous, and recipients are provided with a postage-paid envelope. It’s believed the Spanish introduced feral swine to the U.S. in the mid-1500s. They were found in just 17 states in 1982, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said they have now spread to 41 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. They have been cutting a swath of destruction across the U.S., physically damaging crops and property, preying on livestock and wildlife and passing diseases to not only other animals, but also to humans. Feral swine are generally very aggressive. They rapidly reproduce, travel in large groups and thrive in a large variety of habitats. Controlling their population has been an issue, and often landowners turn to state and local agencies or private businesses for help, with varying success. This survey also asks about control methods and landowners’ opinions on their effectiveness, including hunting. The 2015 survey asks if landowners hunt feral swine on their property or allow others to do so, which is something many have suggested as a solution to control feral swine populations. But they can be tough to hunt, Mengak said. “Hunting may take a few animals, but it will never be a solution to this problem,” Mengak said. Intensive trapping is the best method of control at this time. “Poison or toxicants are not legal methods for controlling feral swine, and it is illegal to release feral swine onto someone’s property except under very specific situations and only with permits,” Mengak added. Georgia’s Wildlife Resource Division and Department of Agriculture enforce feral swine laws in Georgia. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services has in the past offered management solutions at a local level, but it is considering implementing a tougher management program that would span the country. However, the agency wants to see what landowners think before finalizing the plan. Their environmental impact statement is currently under review. “Decision-makers and land managers in Georgia will be better informed about the extent and nature of the feral swine problem once results from the current survey are compiled and summarized,” Mengak said.last_img read more

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Farmgate Value Report

first_imgLed by increases in forestry and livestock values, Georgia’s agricultural output increased by $484 million in 2014, making agriculture, once again, the largest industry in the state with a value of $14.1 billion. According to the most recent University of Georgia Farmgate Value Report, published earlier this month, the value of Georgia’s livestock and aquaculture industries increased by almost 36 percent from 2013. The significant increase in beef prices in 2014 combined with anticipated high prices have led Georgia farmers to increase their herds. In one year the value of the state’s beef cattle production rose by $443,394,105 to $1.089 billion, making it the second most valuable commodity group in the state. Coordinated by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development (CAED), the Farmgate Value Report is one of the most comprehensive annual studies of its kind. Eighty-six Georgia commodities are evaluated. UGA Cooperative Extension agents, who work closely with farmers in every county, collect data that other surveys can’t, said Kent Wolfe, director of the center and an ag economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “It’s an on-the-ground survey of what Georgia farmers are growing,” he said. “It’s really the only study of its depth in the nation. We collect more data than the federal agencies and on more commodities than they are able to survey.” Whereas larger surveys may not count emerging or niche commodities, like southern peas for example, the UGA Farmgate Value Report does. Southern peas, like black-eyed peas, are a $5-million-a-year-business in Georgia. “We can look at the economic impact of those commodities on the state and county level,” Wolfe said. “Besides providing agriculture’s economic contribution, it provides a picture of how many people are involved in agriculture across the state and in the county, as well as the impact that their businesses have.” The detail also makes the report invaluable for spotting emerging trends, whether it’s an uptick in commercial okra production or a surging beef market. “It gives Georgia a unique tool that other states don’t have,” Wolfe said. The UGA CAED offers the report free to the public. To view or print the 2014 report, visit the center’s website at www.caes.uga.edu/center/caed/. Here are some facts from this year’s report: Madison County had the highest overall farm gate value in 2014 ($521,421,196) with more than half generated by poultry and eggs. Georgia’s most valuable vegetable crop in 2014 was grown in Colquitt County, with $155 million in vegetable production.Crisp County may be home to the “watermelon capital of the world,” but in 2014 Tift County was No. 1 in Georgia, generating a farm gate value of $18.4 million.Georgia’s most valuable vegetable crop in 2014 was onions with a value of $138.25 million.Ornamental greenhouse plants accounted for $265.4 million in Georgia in 2014.Dooly County topped the state in 2014 cotton production with a value of $48.2 million. Miller County topped the state in 2014 peanut production, generating a farm gate value of $33.4 million.Georgia farmers grew $335.25 million worth of blueberries in 2014.last_img read more

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Fairpoint spends $15 million on vehicles, Vermont included

first_imgREGIONAL AUTO DEALERS TO SUPPLY VEHICLESFairPoint Communications Spending $15 millionPORTLAND, Maine (June 26, 2008) – FairPoint Communications has entered into agreements with five regional automobile dealerships to purchase motor vehicles as part of its $15 million vehicle purchase and customization plan. Ford F-450 and Ford F-750 trucks will be purchased from Heritage Automotive Group, Inc. in South Burlington, Vermont, Grappone Automotive Group in Concord, New Hampshire, Rowe Ford Sales in Portland, Maine and Whited Ford in Bangor, Maine. These trucks will augment the existing fleet of vehicles used by FairPoint technicians as they bring new voice and high-speed Internet services to customers as well as providing reliable customer service.Additionally, Gateway Motors in White River Junction, Vermont will supply Ford Escape utility vehicles for use by FairPoint central office technicians. Central office technicians install and maintain the electronic components of FairPoint’s current and next generation broadband and voice network. Regional businesses will also provide associated customization services to these and other FairPoint vehicles. Customization services include adding the aerial buckets and storage compartments needed on each vehicle as well as the FairPoint Communications logo and signage.”In selecting these local automobile dealerships and vehicle upfitters, FairPoint is demonstrating its commitment to doing business locally,” said Peter Nixon, president of FairPoint. “We will buy locally whenever we can as we do our part to help stimulate economic growth throughout the region.”About FairPointFairPoint Communications, Inc. is an industry leading provider of communications services to communities across the country. Today, FairPoint owns and operates 32 local exchange companies in 18 states offering advanced communications with a personal touch including local and long distance voice, data, Internet, television and broadband services. FairPoint is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FRP. Learn more at www.fairpoint.com(link is external).# # #last_img read more

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Groups urge Shumlin to work with Legislature to allow PSB to act on Vermont Yankee’s continued operation

first_imgIn an open letter to Governor Shumlin, leading organizations representing industry, labor, and energy stakeholders today expressed concern about the closing window of opportunity to allow the Public Service Board to complete its docket on Vermont Yankee’s continued operation beyond 2012, and the serious economic consequences for Vermont if the plant is not allowed to operate under a renewed license.Absent realistic and viable alternatives for more affordable and reliable power, Associated Industries of Vermont, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the Vermont Energy Partnership urged Governor Shumlin to work with the Legislature and allow the Public Service Board to complete its outstanding docket on relicensing and determine whether continued operation of Vermont Yankee is it the best interest of the state.The text of the open letter follows:An Open Letter to Governor ShumlinFebruary 3, 2011Dear Governor Shumlin:We are writing out of serious concern about the impact Vermont Yankee’s shutdown in 2012 would have on our electric rates and the resulting costincreases for Vermont employers and risks for the welfare of workingVermonters and their families.If Vermont cannot secure sufficiently reliable alternative sources of powerat a lower price than a new power purchase agreement with Vermont Yankee,the responsible action now is for the Legislature and your Administration toallow the Public Service Board to make a decision in its docket on whetherYankee’s continued operation is in the best interest of Vermont.Realistic, viable alternatives to Vermont Yankee that are more affordableand reliable are not apparent. If your Administration can identify suchalternatives, however, we urge you to do so now, because time is runningvery short for the Board to act soon enough for Yankee to continue tooperate past 2012.The new contracts with Hydro-Quebec appear competitive, but we cannot expectHQ would replace their own expiring contracts and Vermont Yankee, nor wouldit be prudent to have a single company supply such a large portion of ourelectric portfolio. Even the last public offer made by Yankee in December2009 would be highly competitive against realistic alternatives today. Withthe continued negotiations between Yankee and Vermont’s utilities sincethen, it is reasonable to expect any final agreement will be morecompetitive than the HQ deal.We cannot relegate the replacement of Vermont Yankee to the vagaries of theNew England market. Although relatively competitive with Yankee at themoment, market prices cannot be expected to remain so for 20 years, and justthe risk alone of high and unstable prices makes this an unacceptablealternative. It is also worth noting that relying on the regional marketwould undermine Vermont’s extremely low-carbon electric portfolio — a highpriority for many Vermonters.Finally, we cannot rely on Vermont Yankee operating under some form offederal preemption or related legal action — it would appear likely thatsuch a scenario could put at risk any advantageous power contracts or otherspecial benefits for Vermont.Without more affordable and reliable alternatives at hand, the consequencesof Vermont Yankee shutting down in March 2012 will be extremely grave.Vermont will face 1) increased electric rates from more expensivereplacement power than Yankee would offer, 2) increased rates from the costof projects required to shore up the electric grid’s reliability, 3)possible periods of reduced reliability if such projects are not completedin time, and 4) the loss of well over 1,000 jobs from Yankee itself,companies doing business with the plant, and other businesses facing higherelectric rates.Indeed, replacing jobs lost if Vermont Yankee shuts down appears asdifficult as finding acceptable power alternatives. Decommissioning jobs donot come close to those connected with continued operation in number,average wage, or duration. Renewable energy projects have been shown tocreate comparatively few jobs, especially beyond construction, and the costand permitting obstacles to the enormous scale of development that would benecessary to attempt to replace all the long-term jobs lost from Yankee’sclosure make this solution extremely unrealistic. Moreover, development andpower costs would only exacerbate job losses owing to increased electricrates.We understand that you and legislative leaders have long opposed thecontinued operation of Vermont Yankee. But you have also put jobs and theeconomy at the forefront of your agenda, and stated publicly that Vermontbusinesses need the most affordable and reliable power that Vermont canfind. These positions are not compatible with forcing Yankee to close ifthere are not more affordable and reliable alternatives.This might be a difficult decision for opponents of Vermont Yankee, butresponsibility for Vermont’s economy and the welfare of working Vermontersand their families is at stake. Absent better alternatives, we urge you towork with the Legislature to allow the Public Service Board to make adecision on Vermont Yankee before the clock runs out and this option islost, with serious negative consequences for decades to come.We sincerely look forward to working with you and supporting you in thiseffort.Associated Industries of VermontInternational Brotherhood of Electrical WorkersVermont Energy Partnershiplast_img read more

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People’s United Bank sponsors Bowl for Kids’ Sake

first_imgPeople’s United Bank,Big Brother Big Sisters of Windham County recently received $3,000 from People’s United Bank to sponsor the 31st Annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraising event.The event will be held on April 7th and teams will bowl and raise money to help provide a high quality mentoring program in Windham County for many wonderful kids who need and want a mentor. The money raised at Bowl For Kids Sake will go to support every aspect of the program: recruiting, screening, training and supporting mentors; learning about Littles so a good match is made with a great Big; supporting the Littles and their parents; providing fun activities for Bigs and Littles to attend, and other administrative expenses.There are so many wonderful kids who need and want a mentor. Mentors are ordinary people doing something very special for as little as one hour a week and making a big difference in the lives of local youth. Mentors do what they normally would but do it with their Little, such as cooking dinner, go to the movies or a quiet walk in the woods.Recent surveys of Windham County’s Little Brothers and Little Sisters demonstrate a 79% increase in their self-confidence; 74% increase in their ability to express their feelings; 67% increase in their decision-making ability; 66% increase in their academic performance and their use of school resources; and 61% improvement in their attitude towards school.‘It is only through the generous support of local businesses such as People’s United Bank, that Youth Services can provide the Big Brother Big Sisters program to kids who really benefit from having caring mentors in their lives,’ said David Brown, Interim Executive Director, Youth Services, Inc.‘We are proud of People’s United Bank’s history of sponsorship, that spans over a decade, making a positive difference in the lives of local youth,’ said Arne Hammarlund, Community Services Manager at People’s United Bank.Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windham County is a program of Youth Services, Inc. Since 1972, Youth Services’ programs have been helping area youth and families cope with tough issues. A staff of professionals assists area youth and families with problems ranging from the challenges associated with growing up to substance abuse or trouble with the law. The agency’s goals are to be responsive to the needs of the residents of Windham County and nearby New Hampshire and to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay for services.People’s United Bank is a subsidiary of People’s United Financial, Inc., a diversified financial services company with approximately $25 billion in assets. Peoples United Bank, founded in 1842, provides consumer, commercial and wealth management services through nearly 340 branches in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and in Westchester County and Long Island, New York. Through additional subsidiaries, People’s United provides equipment financing, asset management, brokerage and financial advisory services, and insurance services.Brattleboro, VermontPhoto:Arne Hammarlund, Community Services Manager at People’s United Bank presents a $3,000 check to David Brown, Interim Executive Director at Youth Services, Inc.last_img read more

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Tesla wins another big battery project in Australia

first_imgTesla wins another big battery project in Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Electrek:Tesla’s energy division is on a roll when it comes to large battery projects, especially in Australia since the success of its giant battery system in in the country.Now we learn that Tesla won another contract for a massive battery system project to deploy Powerpacks at another wind farm in Australia.Tesla’s 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack project in South Australia provide the same grid services as peaker plants, but cheaper, quicker, and with zero-emissions, through its battery system. It is so efficient that it reportedly should have made around $1 million in just a few days in January, but Tesla later complained that they are not being paid correctly because the system doesn’t account for how fast Tesla’s Powerpacks start discharging their power into the grid. Overall, it is estimated that Tesla’s giant battery in Australia reduced the grid service cost by 90%.Other markets want similar results, especially in Australia where they arguably need it the most, and they have been ordering similar large-scale projects from Tesla over the past year.The latest was announced today by Infigen Energy, a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy generation assets in Australia. They ordered a 25 MW/52 MWh energy storage system from Tesla to be deployed at their 278.5 MW Lake Bonney Wind Farm – becoming the latest of several Tesla battery projects in South Australia.The project is expected to cost “approximately $38 million” (~$27.5 million USD) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) along with the SA Government are each committing $5 million in grant funding ($10 million in total). They are expecting construction to start “in the coming weeks.”More: Tesla wins contract for another massive battery system with Powerpackslast_img read more

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Fitch Solutions: Global installed solar capacity will climb 125% in next 10 years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The National:Solar energy capacity addition is set to expand 125 per cent globally over the next decade as countries switch from fossil fuels to greener alternatives, according to a study by Fitch Solutions.Solar energy is expected to take up a 6 per cent share of global electricity generation by 2029, an increase from 2.7 per cent at the end of last year. A net total of 734 gigawatts of solar power capacity is likely to be added by the end of 2029, with installed solar generation capacity set to grow to 1,321.8GW, up from 587.5GW in 2019.“Growth in emerging markets will also support our positive global solar outlook. We forecast 36 markets will add more than 1GW of solar capacity over the coming decade, with 48 markets expected to add over 500 megawatts and 72 markets expected to add at least 100MW,” Fitch Solutions said.China will remain the single biggest individual market driving solar power generation, with 285.7GW of capacity addition expected over the next decade, just short of 40 per cent of the total, according to Fitch Solutions.The US and India are also expected to drive growth in the sector, with 110.4GW and 84.4GW of capacity additions respectively, over the next decade.Across Europe, Spain, France, Germany and Italy will be the main growth drivers, with each market estimated to add between 12GW and 24GW of capacity over the next decade.[Jennifer Gnana]More: Global solar capacity addition to more than double over the next decade Fitch Solutions: Global installed solar capacity will climb 125% in next 10 yearslast_img read more

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