Brand inspectors receive Governor Award for Excellence, Utah's Own expands outreach and advertising efforts, and UDAF goes after FDA grant to provide faster coordinated response during food safety incidents.
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Brand Inspectors Recognized for Reducing Livestock Theft

The UDAF Brand Inspection Bureau received the Governor's Award for Excellence April 27, 2016 at the Utah State Capitol. The award for Outstanding Public Service is a result of a reduction in the number of missing livestock in Utah. Read More.

Utah's Own Begins New Advertisement Push

Have you noticed the new Utah’s Own membership logo wall inside the lobby at the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, or perhaps the advertisements on TRAX and FrontRunner?  These are just a few of the exciting things happening with the Utah’s Own program.  A case in point was the recent filming of a Utah’s Own commercial / brand video in Northern Utah.  Locations included Zollinger's Fruit & Tree Farms, Queen Farina Honey, Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, Harmons Emigration Market, and a house near the capitol.  They even used a real Utah mom and her family of five.  The shoot went flawless and the final product will be done by June 30.  Like Utah’s Own on Facebook and follow them on Instagram for up-to-date posts and to see how the program uses social media to help people find quality local products and strengthen Utah's economy. 

UDAF Chemist Hoang to Retire after 31 Years

In a few months employees at the UDAF main office in Salt Lake City will say goodbye to the UDAF chemistry laboratory and its staff, when the chem lab relocates to a new inter-agency state laboratory building. But this month UDAF will bid farewell to one of the lab's chemists.

Cham Hoang will retire later this month after 31 years of service with the State of Utah. Cham came to UDAF after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Utah. Cham’s educational background made her well suited for a chemistry position with the department’s Division of Laboratory Services, and she has made numerous valuable contributions to the laboratory programs.
Since Cham’s date of hire, she has worked as an analytical chemist in the Laboratory Division’s Feed and Fertilizer Lab. The function of this lab is to conduct testing to determine levels of feed and fertilizer product components with the objective of assessing label compliance. Testing for the presence and levels of toxins and antibiotics in feed samples is also performed.

"During the course of her 31 years of employment at UDAF, Cham has been instrumental in developing the feed and fertilizer testing programs, said Dr. Weston Judd, director, Laboratory Services, UDAF.

Out of necessity, Cham often had to train herself on various techniques and procedures for testing samples, especially when new methods or instrumentation were employed. Examples of this include testing for vitamin A levels and the presence of tetracycline antibiotics in feed samples as well as for mineral analysis in both feed and fertilizer products. In more recent years, Cham has been the lead chemist for mineral analysis in feed, fertilizer, and water samples. In this role, Cham has gained expertise in performing this type of analysis, both with methodology and instrumentation.

It is safe to say that Cham has been involved with the full range of testing conducted by UDAF’s Feed and Fertilizer Lab, and then some. In fact, in the “early days,” Cham even conducted testing to determine octane levels and other parameters of gasoline collected from Utah gas stations, a task now performed by the Regulatory Division’s Fuel Lab. Cham was also the laboratory lead on a very popular ground/well water testing program, for which numerous samples were analyzed every moth during its existence. This program required the utilization of sophisticated instrumentation that Cham was able to independently learn and master.

Cham's official retirement date is June 16, 2016.

Gas Pump Accuracy Expected to be High This Summer

Inspections at fuel stations throughout Utah show most pumps are accurate.
“We have revamped our inspection structure to reflect the state’s new SUCCESS program that’s helped us deploy our resources more effectively,” said Weights and Measures Manager, Brett Gurney  “While there are occasional problems with pumps where consumers are being shorted, the vast majority of the 32,000 gasoline pumps in Utah are operating within tolerances,” Gurney added.

Gasoline inspections Jan. 1, 2016 through May 25, 2016

•    98% of pumps dispensed gasoline accurately.
•    90% of pumps are free of other errors relating to correct price, proper labeling, evidence of tampering, hose condition, computer jump, and other reasons.

Read more

UDAF Leading Effort to Build a Utah Food Safety Rapid Response Team

The Rapid Response Team (RRT) Program is an FDA initiative that partners with state programs to build food safety infrastructure and a concept of integrated rapid response for all‐hazards food and feed emergencies.
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has applied for grant funding through FDA to begin developing these rapid response capabilities.  Although UDAF will anchor the RRT, several state agencies and organizations will be involved with development and maintenance of the RRT. Some of the goals will be to strengthen collaboration among local, state, and federal partners, and create fully integrated and sustained response capabilities for food emergencies.
In Utah, there is good collaborative teamwork among the food safety and food protection agencies. Foodborne illness outbreaks like the recent Salmonella Poona associated with imported cucumbers was an example of that collaboration. However, a dedicated Rapid Response Team will make food safety and food defense efforts in the state even better.  With the rapid response concept of highly trained experts who are pre-assigned to a specific piece of the response effort, the real time that it takes to mitigate and get an emergency situation under control is significantly reduced. This can make a big difference in the outcome and potentially save lives and prevent many people from being exposed to contaminated food products and becoming ill.
With a Food Protection Rapid Response Team in place, citizens in Utah will be better protected in the event of a food emergency.

UDAF, Local Weed Managers Fight to Keep Hoary Cress Out of Zion National Park

Some Weeds are so prevalent in certain areas, those weeds fall off highest level of the State's high Priority list to combat. In Northern Utah, Hoary Cress falls into that category, but in Southern Utah, the weed is not yet pervasive. An aggressive weed control effort to keep Hoary Cress from entering Zion National Park has been going on for a few years and is showing real signs of success.
Watch a short video about the project.

UDAF Aquaponics Garden Expands...Let it Rain

The UDAF aquaponic demonstration garden has a new addition.

The rain tower pictured above is a type of aeroponic hydroponic growing. The roots of the plants are suspended in air rather than submerged in water most or all of the time.

This is the second tower at the mini garden in the lobby of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food main building. 350 North Redwood Road. Salt Lake City. What sets this tower apart from the other is the water is pumped to the top and allow to fall or rain through holes in the top cap. The water all stays inside the upright post as it rains down on the plant roots.

The first tower in the garden uses a drip irrigation system to water the roots of the plants. The garden is available to view Mon - Fri. 8:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Copyright © 2016 Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, All rights reserved.

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