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From ARS to a Store Near YouBy Kim Kaplan
December 16, 2002
Abundant, affordable, safe, variety--that's the American way when it comes to shopping. What isn't found on any store shelf is an Agricultural Research Service brand name. But many products that people use on a daily basis could justifiably carry the stamp "Courtesy of ARS Research," with more arriving every day.
One of the most recent products to which consumers have access as a result of ARS research is irradiated hamburger free of E. coli O157:H7, which can cause serious--even life-threatening--illness. Ground beef is especially vulnerable because more than just the surface of the meat may potentially be exposed to the bacteria.
Terms like "irradiated meat" refer to treatment with ionizing radiation from gamma rays produced by cobalt and cesium atoms, machine-produced X-rays or electron beams.
For example, all of the 6.5 million pounds of ground beef that Omaha Steaks sells each year in its retail and bulk food service operations is now irradiated. And grocery chains like Giant Food in the Washington, D.C., area have also begun carrying irradiated ground beef.
Another new product that has resulted from ARS research is vegan chocolate candy. Mrs. Mudd's, Inc., in Oceanside, Calif., is now offering gourmet vegan chocolate truffles that contain Nutrim, a patented ARS soybean-based replacer for dairy products in many foods. Nutrim imparts the same mouth-feel as adding heavy dairy cream, but has much less fat. This niche market product is perfect for people watching their cholesterol or who do not eat dairy products.
More information on these and other new consumer products from ARS research can be found in the December issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.