Differences between ‘use by’ ‘best by’ and ‘sell by’ dates

Have you ever found something in the back of your pantry and seen that the best by date was just one week ago and you’re not exactly sure if you should still eat it? Well here are definitions by the USDA as to what those confusing ‘use by,’ ‘sell by,’ and ‘best buy’ dates mean and hopefully this will help you the next time you find yourself confused as to whether you should toss something out or still safely consume it.

  • Best if used by/before: not a purchase or safety date. Indicates when the product will be at best quality and taste. You can still safely eat the product once this date passes.
  • Sell by: Not a safety date. This just tells the store how long to display the product for inventory management.
  • Use by: Not a safety date. (unless its baby formula then it is a safety date) This states the last day that the product will be at best quality and taste.

It is up to you, the consumer, if you want to eat the product once it is past the best by or use by date, but  just know that it could still taste perfectly normal once the date passes. And it is safe to eat also since these are not safety dates (unless you see mold, or it has a bad odor).

If you want to read further information about the process and requirements of food dates, take a look at the USDA website that is linked right below!

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating

 

Can Food Insecurity Impact Your Health?

by Linh Ho, HSRC Intern

For low-income individuals and households, health issues and food insecurity are things that tend to go hand in hand. Food insecurity can be generally defined as “the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources” (Healthy People 2020). If you’re skipping meals regularly, or eating less than you might normally eat because there’s not enough money or not enough food in the house, it’s very possible that you fall into the category of being food insecure. Food insecurity comes with a potential for many health problems, and has been strongly correlated with negative health outcomes for both adults and children alike.

When people aren’t access fresh and nutritious food, their quality of life and health can take a serious turn for the worst. Unfortunately, fresh and nutritious foods can be much more expensive than foods that we often consider to be unhealthy, like junk food or fast/convenient foods. Food insecure individuals also tend to have to face the dilemma of having to decide what their income will be going towards each month. For many people, it becomes a competition between food and housing costs, food and school costs, food and medical costs — the list goes on (Feeding America).

So, what usually happens is that food insecure people will go with the cheaper, less nutritious food option because it means they will be able to pay for their other costs of living. However, although cheaper, junk and fast foods when consumed too regularly can lead to chronic health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Or, the opposite might occur and people will end up spending most if not all of their money to feed themselves and their families, especially if they have children. In that case, then they will likely forgo other important but not “urgent” medical expenses, such as doctor’s appointments, health insurance, and even prescription medication. Either way, having to choose between one or the other may have pretty negative consequences for physical health.

In addition, this chronic stress and worry over whether or not you will be able to afford food, housing, school, or other basic life needs takes a toll a person’s mental health as well. Research conducted by Dr. Andrew D. Jones at the University of Michigan found a causal association between food insecurity status and poor mental health (Science Daily). This is likely because being food insecure can cause feelings of stress, alienation, shame, and guilt often associated with anxiety and depression. Having to find and use alternative methods of obtaining food can also come with social stigma that can create feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment.

All in all, food insecurity and health can because of a vicious circle of not so great consequences. The thing is, your health absolutely does not have to suffer, just because you’re in a tight spot with money. There are so many choices, especially as a student here at OSU.

If you’re struggling with affording food, consider one of the following options:

  • Stop by Avery Lodge for one of our Shopping Style Food Pantry events for canned and dry goods, produce, and even butter and eggs!
  • Come to the HSRC during business hours (and non-Food Pantry event days) for an emergency food box and we’ll try to meet your needs.
  • Consider applying for SNAP benefits to help pay for groceries each month.
  • Stop by the HSRC if you have questions or to see how we might be able to help you further!

HOW TO SAVE MONEY!

Do you need help on ways that you can save your money? Well my name’s Karen, a fourth year student majoring in Merchandising Management and I’m going to tell you some of the things I’ve done to save as much money as I can!

1. FREE FOOD: First of all when people say that they take advantage of the free food; let me tell you, we aren’t joking!

  • Seriously tho, take advantage and go to all and any events that provide free food.
  • Even if you may feel embarrassed, just go because chances are that most of the people attending are just going because of the free food (who doesn’t want to save money on a meal and or dont have the time to cook their own meal.)
  • This applies to you especially when you’re not living on campus anymore and you’re on your own… It’s a struggle trying to find/make time to prepare a meal
  • How I’ve found about free food on campus;
    • List serves that i’m on from either my particular college I’m in, clubs I’m a member of, special program I’m in (CAMP, TRIO, EOP), departments on campus (DCE, SSI, SLI), and the cultural centers
    • Also following different OSU pages in social media that will post events (facebook and twitter)
      • Twitter= @EatFreeOSU

2. GROCERY SHOPPING: I’m not picky at all on where to go grocery shopping, and if you aren’t either and want to save money → Go grocery shopping at Winco!

  • But I mean if you feel the need to go buy your groceries at Trader Joes then by all means you do you, but if you’re trying to save money probably not your best option…

3. SNAP: I get food stamps in order to have enough money to pay my bills and not be stressing on money for groceries.

  • If you’re a full time student and get work study through FAFSA you should be eligible for SNAP → Apply (it doesn’t hurt to try), extra money for food is always good!

4. Textbooks: In case you don’t already know, textbooks are expensive especially buying them from the OSU Bookstore!

  • Textbook lending →  I take advantage of the textbook lending program at the HSRC; where students are able to borrow books for the whole term at no cost! You can check if the HSRC has the books you need either online at: osulibrary.oregonstate.edu or by going into the office
  • Scanning chapters → If you search on osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/   and the book is at the library I go and checkout the library for the 3 hours and scan the important chapters that are needed for the class (since we don’t go over the whole book).
  • Renting → If I can’t find the book at either the textbook lending program or at the library then i will search and see if there’s a possibility for me to rent my book (which is cheaper than buying the book). You should search and try and find the place where it’s the cheapest to rent the book(s). Places where i have rented my book from: Amazon, Chegg, osu bookstore

5. Classes: If you’re able to stay in Corvallis the whole year then summer classes are a way to go!

  • Usually summer classes will be cheaper over the summer than during the rest of the school year, so if you can I would try and go with that option!
  • Also if you like learning at a fast pace than you can register for classes that are only a couple weeks (which you could potentially take the same or more classes for cheaper over the summer).

6. Driving: I personally don’t drive my car around much.

  • I take the public bus to campus, which is also very convenient if you have a job on campus (you don’t have to pay for a parking pass -which is expensive, and you save money on gas).
  • You can also ride a bike if you’re not in walking distance of campus, and prefer not to take the bus.

7. Living: rooming with multiple people can always help you save money!

  • If you are cool with sharing a room, I would highly encourage you to do so (I have shared a room with my best friend for 3 years now). This has helped cut our rent expense by half!

 

The HSRC Budget: How It All Works

The Human Services Resource Center is a mostly funded through a small percentage of overall OSU student fees, but also relies on sustainable gifts through our OSU foundation account to fund certain components of our programs, namely the HSRC Food Pantry. Continue reading to learn more about the HSRC budget, programs, and folks involved in making decisions about how we spend our money.

Overview of HSRC Students & Programs

The Human Services Resource Center at Oregon State University is known around campus for our Textbook Lending Program, our @eatfreeOSU twitter campaign, and helping students who may be in housing crisis. Additionally, we provide food assistance through the HSRC Food Pantry, the Food Assistance Funds Program, SNAP enrollment assistance, and brand new cooking classes!

Our HSRC students may be one or more of the following:

– Pell-eligible
– First generation
– Former Foster Youth
– TRiO or EOP participants
– Undocumented, DACA or under-resourced international students
– Homeless, houseless, or otherwise experiencing housing insecurity
– Experiencing situational poverty
– Prior recipients of Free/Reduced Lunch Program or other social safety net programs

For more information about the HSRC history, mission, and vision, check out About HSRC on our website.

Student Fee Funded Unit

The HSRC is mostly funded through OSU student fees. Each term students enrolled at the Corvallis campus, pay a set amount of student fees – and the HSRC is funded by a small percentage of this overall total. E-campus, non-enrolled students, and Cascades campus students do not pay into the same student fees as Corvallis-campus students do. The student fees provided to the HSRC helps pay for building expenses, staffing needs, and program supplies. As a student-fee funded unit, the HSRC is required to annually submit a proposed budget to the Student Fee Committee and to request a fee level needed to support our program functions.

For more information about the recent Student Fee Committee budget process, check out HSRC in the Media on our blog: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/hsrc/hsrc-media-coverage/

Budgeting Funds

The HSRC budget in 2018-19 fiscal year is expected to be $834,000. Of those funds, approximately $230,000 will be distributed back to OSU students as our Mealbux award within the Food Assistance Program.

Student Aid Programs

HSRC student aid includes:

Food Assistance Funds Program
    ($231,000 annually before staffing costs)

Textbook Lending Program
    ($20,000 annually before staffing costs)

Emergency Housing 
    ($10,000-$30,000 annually before staffing costs)

Avery Facilities
(roughly $28,000 in occupancy fees, utilities and other related costs)

HSRC Food Pantry
(currently $12,000 or so annually before staffing costs)

Alternative Break Travel Grant & other student travel support
   ($5,000 annually before staffing costs)

Staffing

In order to run these various student aid programs, another large portion of budget goes towards staffing and professional development funds.

The HSRC staff includes the following positions:

3 Full Time Employees (FTE)
2 graduate assistants
10 undergraduate staff

For more information about the HSRC staff positions, check out Join Our Team on the HSRC website.

Program Supplies

The final portion of the student-fees funded budget goes towards program expenses like promotion, printing costs, room rentals, equipment and other basics of running the program.

Food Share Costs

While we have recently received an increase to our student-fee funded budget, these funds cannot be used for food share costs (just about 2% of overall HSRC budget) associated with food acquired through the Linn Benton Food Share to stock the HSRC Food Pantry. We depend on sustainable gifts received through the OSU Foundation to fund this vital resource for students and community. Currently, we are in need of sustainable gifts to our OSU Foundation account to help meet our funding goal and continue to maintain this important resource.

Budget Authority & HSRC Advisory Board

The Assistant Director of the HSRC is the budget authority for the HSRC, as delegated by the Office of the Provost. The budget authority reviews and makes purchasing decisions centered in HSRC values and OSU’s mission. All purchases are also made in alignment with spending expectations outlined on the AABC website.

Additionally, the HSRC has an advisory board, a requirement for all OSU student-fee funded units. This advisory board is comprised of OSU students, and both campus and community partners invested in the success of OSU students. Members of the HSRC advisory board help review and make recommendations related to the annual HSRC budget. The advisory board also serves as a sounding board for the HSRC Leadership Team and helps to review HSRC programs and services, providing recommendations to the HSRC that help support and enhance the success of OSU students.

Limitations & Future Implications

The challenge of being so substantially student-fee-funded means that in order for growth and expansion to occur students (including those we are trying to help) need to pay more. Increased costs, even without growth, like staff salary raises, utility cost increases and other variables are experienced by us and other student fee funded units – putting pressure on everyone in our division to work mindfully to keep growth conservative so fee increases can be minimal. We hope that in the future we’ll have support from foundations, state programs or donors who can help us meet student needs without needing to ask for more from students.

Recipe Spotlight: Easy Applesauce Muffins

by Linh Ho, HSRC Intern

This super easy recipe for applesauce muffins has less than ten ingredients, many of which can be found either in the HSRC Food Pantry, or in your pantry at home! The stars of this recipe are the pre-made baking mix that can be found in our Food Pantry at Avery Lodge, as well as some unsweetened applesauce that we also have an abundance of.

The baking mix, supplied by the Oregon Food Bank, is very versatile and can be used to make pancakes, biscuits, and even muffins like we are doing today! The unsweetened applesauce also adds some natural sweetness and additional moisture to the muffins. Applesauce can also be used to replace eggs in many recipes. Check out this website for tips!

Onto the recipe, which can be either a sweet treat or even an easy on the go breakfast item!

The ingredients you will need for the muffins:

  • 2 cups of baking mix
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 generous teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 serving container of unsweetened applesauce (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine baking mix, sugar, and cinnamon into a bowl.

  • Stir in applesauce, egg, milk, oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Add other mix-ins if desired. I added about a third of a small chopped granny smith apple to half the batter.

  • Fill greased muffin tins with batter, about 2/3 full. Using cupcake liners saves some mess and clean up time!

     

  • Bake the muffins for about 10-12 minutes. They are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

  • Combine the remaining cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish or bowl. Melt the butter in bowl — be careful with this: remember to cover the bowl with plastic wrap and only heat for about 15 seconds.

  • Gently dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter and quickly roll into the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Enjoy your muffins!

Gettin’ to know the Garden

by Anne Snell

Did you know the HSRC has a garden? That’s right! Just to the East of the building are 7 rows of soil,  and two raised beds. (Or, if you’re directionally challenged like me, the side with the 30-minute parking spots.) There is also a mini orchard which includes dwarf-sized fruit trees like fig, apple, pear, and persimmon. The garden began in the 2016-2017 school year as part of the Growing Food Security Initiative between the HSRC and the Student Sustainability Initiative (SSI).

Two of the garden beds, growing baby kale and pepper plants

If it doesn’t look like much now, it’s because this will actually be the garden’s first year producing a full season of crops!  It takes time for well-producing gardens to form. The Organic Growers Club grew the starts from seed to help us save money. This also helps make sure we get the varieties people want to eat.  The soil conditions are constantly improving, so in a few years, they will be even more nutrient rich than they are now. More nutrients in the soil means more produce!

Colorful Swiss Chard is almost ready to harvest!

This year the garden, which is mostly managed by the SSI, is growing vegetables like Swiss chard, tomatoes, kale, tomatillos, bell peppers, carrots, beets, squash, and garlic. Everything grown in the garden is harvested directly for the HSRC’s Shopping Style Food Pantry nights or Fresh Food Friday. Production is slow right now, but come summer, and into the fall, we will have vegetables galore!

The apples aren’t quite ripe yet, but they will be soon!

 

 

The HSRC Community  Garden isn’t just for  providing fresh produce to the food pantry. It is also a learning environment, where students can get their hands dirty and help grow the food harvested from the garden. In the future we hope students can engaged in the process of growing food, both so they can give back to their community, but also so they can learn the skills required to grow your own food for themselves. The community garden we have is small, and still very young, but growin’ strong!

I’m facing a housing emergency…where do I go?

Come here to the HSRC first!

We have 2 rooms on campus available to students in need of emergency housing. This requires consulting with one of our GTAs to better understand your situation and assess if our emergency housing option is your best fit or if there are more suitable resources elsewhere.

These outside resources include:

Jackson Street Youth Services Next Steps Program – 541-754-2404

This program is a Transitional Living Program that is available to anyone 18 years of age until their 21st birthday. The locations are confidential. Participants are offered up to 18 months of services. This includes a bed, case management, skill building, financial support, mental health services, and community building. Upon entering a person is obligated to be pursuing either: Employment or Education. While living there, a person is asked to pay a flat rate or percentage of their monthly income as a form of “rent”. This “rent” gets stored in a savings account and when a person exits the program, they are given the amount back to help with costs of moving into a new place.

The program currently offers 8 beds. When those beds are already occupied a person applying can opt to be placed on a waitlist. A requirement of this waitlist is to engage with an Outreach Case Manager and attend a weekly skills workshop. This is to potentially find an alternative solution to their situation, thus opening up a spot for someone else.

The application for this program can be found through the link provided above. Applications can be submitted to their Corvallis House at 555 NW Jackson Avenue.

Community Outreach Inc. – 541-758-3000

This is the primary adult shelter in Benton County. It is located at 865 NW Reiman Avenue. They primarily provide services to families, women and children, and veterans. This includes housing, case management, guidance seeking employment, etc..

They have 70 beds available and are often at full occupancy, but a bed can become available at any minute. They do require sobriety.

Corvallis Housing First – 541-230-1297

Housing First is a national model for eliminating homelessness within a respective community. Corvallis offers two locations within the community that offer long term housing for those experiencing or at risk of chronic homelessness. The goal is to provide stability and structure for folks exiting the streets with the assistance of case management and accountability from a professional staff.

Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services – 541-752-7220

Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services is a private, nonprofit community development corporation committed to improving lives and strengthening communities through quality affordable housing, homeownership, economic opportunity, and community partnerships. They provide educational and financial services to secure your future. They are able to make referrals when necessary and help guide you through the process of finding stable housing.

Community Services ConsortiumHousing Resources – 541-752-1010

Community Services Consortium offers a variety of programs. In regards to housing they offer rental assistance and utilities assistance programs to help alleviate costs of living.

If you are in need, or know someone who is in need, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to help you resolve your situation as quickly as possible.

Presentation: Textbook Lending Library at OSU

Abstract of the presentation: Lori Hilterbrand, Kelly McElroy, Nicole Hindes and Dan Moore talked about the Textbook Lending Library at OSU. Despite the clear negative impact of high textbook costs on students, limits—including space, funding, and policies—prevent many academic libraries from fully supporting textbook collections. Partnering with other campus units on textbook lending requires creative thinking but can provide students access to other services in addition to the books they need for class. This talk describes a partnership between an academic library and a student services unit to provide support for a noncustodial textbook lending program. The talk is about 18 minutes long with about 10 minutes in questions from the audience captured as well.

If you’d like to learn more about this project, the collaborating partners also published the article “Access Services are Human Services.

Recipe spotlight: Egg Fried Rice

Here is a quick fried rice recipe that uses leftovers and pantry staples to create a delicious snack or meal!

Serving size: 4-6 people as a main dish, 6-8 people as a side dish

Ingredients for Egg Fried Rice

  • 4 cups cooked rice – day old is best
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups vegetables chopped (fresh, frozen, or canned are fine – just drain excess liquid)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 4 eggs (1-2 eggs per person)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of garlic powder(more or less to taste)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • ½-1 Tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder (more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp optional seasoning/toppings


Notes from the author:
I used brown rice, half of a large onion, two carrots, and four butter pats repurposed from various event leftovers. The dry seasonings are optional and could be replaced or combined with cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, mushroom powder, or omitted as desired.  If you want to add meat, fish, or vegetarian protein substitutes, factor in about half to one cup of protein. Note that if you add raw meat or fish, you should chop, cook, and season with salt and pepper before you add the vegetables, rice, etc. Finally, I used sweet chili sauce as an optional topping, but chopped green onions or toasted sesame seeds are also tasty options. 

Instructions for Egg Fried Rice

  • Preheat a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add oil of choice.
  • Chop vegetables as needed
chopped onions and carrots
  • Note that you can save vegetable scraps and make vegetable broth
  • Add veggies and dry seasonings to the pan and cook until tender
chopped vegetables in skillet
  • Push the vegetables to the side, and crack the eggs onto the other side.
scramble eggs on one side of skillet
  • Scramble the eggs and then mix eggs and veggies together
  • Add the rice to the veggie and egg mixture 2 cups at a time.
add rice in portions

  • Pour the soy sauce on top.
add soy sauce slowly to fried rice
  • Stir and mix rice until warm
  • Serve with desired toppings
serve fried rice and enjoy warm

 

If you have any leftovers, they’ll last about 1-2 days in the fridge, depending on the age of the leftover rice

Article by Bion Hawkmorr, HSRC Events & Programming Coordinator 2017-2018

Photo credit: Bion Hawkmorr 2018

HSRC PRESENTS: COOKING CLASSES!

 

Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures. In an ideal world, healthy and delicious food would be all around and easily accessible to everyone. But we all know that it is not a perfect world and there are several barriers keeping us from eating nourishing food. Money and time should not be among the reasons. As college students with very busy schedules and not a whole lot of money, making delicious and healthy meals can be challenging.If you can gain a few more kitchen skills, you can be creative with the ingredients available to you and make some healthy and fun meals.

The cooking classes this Spring at the HSRC are FREE and focused on empowering the participants with basic cooking skills. The recipes that will be used are easy, cheap and quick, because yes, we always have tons of homework and deadlines to beat, but of course we need to eat healthy yummy food too!

Rice Every Which Way- April 17th, 5-7pm.

Versatile ingredients save meals time and money! Rice is definitely one of them. Boiled rice on its own is not very difficult to make, but it can be pretty bland and definitely get old. In this class we will be playing around with herbs, spices and vegetables (more vegetables=more flavor) to make rice healthy, tasty and fun. The other amazing thing about rice is that you can make a lot of it over the weekend and make different meals from it, all week long to save a lot of time. Rice is one of those staples that you can have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Ramen Revamped-May 3rd, 5-7pm. 

We have all lived off one too many Ramen bowls at one point in our lives. They are quick and easy, and don’t require any cooking skill but most of all they are cheap! while we have certainly come to accept Ramen as part of ‘the college experience,’ we can have fun making it  healthier, tasty and more nourishing.

 

Knead Bread?  May 15th, 5-7pm.

When you consider the simple ingredients that form the foundation of all breads—flour, yeast, salt and water—it’s truly remarkable how many varied products can be made from it. Bread baking can often seem very intimidating and complicated. This class will be focused on stove top breads, which can be an easier and cheaper alternative.We want to empower you to feed yourself, and take your baking skills to the next level!

 

 

Cheap and Gourmet- May 31st, 5-7pm.

Good and cheap! Eating healthy and tasty food while on a budget can be a real hustle. This class is designed to explore ways you can create an amazing meal with simple affordable ingredients. Improvisation is the soul of great cooking! Our hope is after this class you will be able to tailor things to your taste and preference all while on a budget!

Registration is recommended not required. Click here to sign up!  The classes will be held at Avery Lodge.  

We are looking forward to cooking with you!