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Q&A: Food for thought ... Dietary aids virtually unregulated

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Who regulates the safety of dietary supplement products in the United States?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the Food and Drug Administration oversees dietary supplement products in the U.S. Since October 1994, and the signing of the DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), supplement manufacturers have an essential responsibility to substantiate the safety of their products.

However, research studies in people to prove that a dietary supplement is safe are not required before the supplement is marketed, unlike for drugs.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer/distributor to ensure their products are safe and that their label claims are accurate and truthful. If the FDA finds a supplement to be unsafe once it is on the market, only then can it take the action against the manufacturer and/or distributor, such as by issuing a warning or requiring the product to be removed from the market.

I love to bake my own quick breads, muffins, etc. They often are more dry than I like. How can I add more moisture?

First, look at a couple of things that could cause a drier product: Make sure your oven is accurate by using an oven thermometer inside the oven cavity. If your oven temperature control differs from the oven thermometer, adjust your temperature control.

Secondly, are you adding too much flour to your recipe? Flour typically should be fluffed or sifted then spooned lightly into the cup. Do not shake the cup or push down on the contents. Level off with a straight edge spatula.

Another way to add moisture, flavor and boost nutrients is to add one of the following to your recipe when you add the liquids: ½ cup grated carrots, apple or zucchini, canned pumpkin, or mashed, cooked sweet potatoes.

How do I select a ripe watermelon?

First, look at the outside of the melon; it should be free of cuts, blemishes and bruised areas. Secondly, it should be heavy in weight related to its size; watermelon is 92 percent water. And lastly, the area of the melon that was lying on the ground should be a creamy yellow color if it is ripe. Remember, all melons should be washed in clean, running water prior to cutting; also use a clean knife and cutting board when cutting the melon. Enjoy!

Can I enter items in the Johnson County fair?

Yes, we have classes in the Open Class area that are open to any Johnson County resident. There’s no fee.

We have competitions in baked goods, food preservation, sewing, handicrafts, fine arts, quilting, needlecraft, photography, crops, artificial floral arrangements, fresh floral arrangements, cut flowers, potted plants, garden vegetables and herbs.

Contact the Johnson County Extension Office for the rules and further information by calling 736-3724 or stop by the office on the northeast corner of the Johnson County Fairgrounds between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Linda Souchon is extension educator at the Purdue Extension Johnson County office. Contact her at Lsouchon@purdue.edu.

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