A collaborative study conducted by Agricultural Research Service and Harvard University scientists showed decreased nutritional dietary quality and increased caloric intake among U.S. children on days when they consumed fast food. The study, which appears in the January 2004 issue of the journal Pediatrics, confirms other similar, previously published studies.

Grass-fed beef has more beta-carotene, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids than beef produced using conventional cattle-feeding strategies, according to a research review conducted by University of California Cooperative Extension and California State University, Chico.

The results of the review are on the Web at http://www.csuchico.edu/agr/grsfdbef.

To address the problem of dietary iron deficiency, food producers enrich flour, maize and rice with iron and fortify breakfast cereals with this essential mineral. Yet USDA notes there is little research on the absorption and utilization — also called bioavailability — of the various iron sources used to fortify foods today.

How many kernels of wheat in a pound? Anywhere from 14,000 to 17,000.

It is reported that more than 87 percent of America's farmers own cell phones.

On average, agriculture uses about 43 percent of the state's available water.

Horseradish received the seal of approval from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute because it gives ordinary foods a healthy shot of flavor. Low in calories, sodium and fat, horseradish contains 60 percent of allylisothiocynate, which protects against Listeria, E. coli and Staphyloccus arueus.

Forty-five percent of American adults eat Asian foods at least once a month. Thai food is the fastest-growing segment of international cuisine. For a wine to compliment the textures and complex interplay of salt, sweet and sour flavors, a “quiet” reisling, sauvignon blanc or cabernet works well.

Alfalfa got its name from the Persian word for horsepower.

Farmers make about a nickel or less from each loaf of bread.

California's 2,300 dairy farms house 1.4 million milk cows. Or, to put it more simply, about one out of seven U.S. dairy cows lives in California.

Want to keep unwanted grains from slipping into your box of organic cornflakes or canister of Basmati rice? The USDA says with more specialty grains flowing into the marketplace, there is a growing need for grain-handling programs that can effectively segregate grains so that there's no unwanted mixing.

Zeroing in on the commingling that can occur during grain unloading and storage, a scientist with the Agricultural Research Service recently identified the parts of a grain elevator that may contribute to mixing and assessed how flushing with a quick burst of “cleansing” grain can lessen the problem.

Drinking black tea and eating meals low in fat and cholesterol may help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol in blood.

The 1.5 million Americans who are allergic to peanuts may someday have an allergen-free peanut they can enjoy.

A form of vitamin D, discovered in laboratory studies by an ARS researcher, may help fight cancer.

Eating fruits, vegetables and certain grains that are rich in antioxidant compounds could be the most practical and least expensive way to delay formation of cataracts.

Small, hard-to-find particles on poultry carcasses may now be easier to detect at the processing plant, using a newly patented, high-tech imaging system from ARS.