Q. When I receive a gift of frozen (perishable) meat or poultry in the mail, how can I check to make sure it is safe?
A. Open it immediately and check the temperature. The food should be frozen or partially frozen with ice crystals still visible and refrigerator-cold, i.e. below 40 degrees as measured with a food thermometer. These rules still apply even if a product is smoked, cured, vacuum-packed or fully cooked.
If a perishable food arrives warm, above 40 degrees, don't use it. Do not eat the food. Contact the company and report that the gift was received in an unsafe condition and ask for a replacement. Make sure the replacement will be shipped with an adequate cold source.
Q. Why do you often get a knot or swelling on your cattle when you give a subcutaneous injection in the neck region?
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A. Some products, such as many of the vaccines given to protect the animal from diseases, do under certain situations, cause the development of a knot or swelling at the injection site. In most cases, these knots regress and disappear after a few days or weeks.
However, there are cases where these knots persist. They are usually loose and not firmly attached to any muscle tissue and are removed when the hide is removed. Subcutaneous knots are not a defect to the hide, carcass or other saleable product and pose no concern to the health and quality of the animal. In fact, the presence of a subcutaneous knot may indicate that the animal has been vaccinated and an immune response has been initiated.
Q. What kind of fertilizer should I use on a peach and a pear tree?
A. Most homeowners can use a generic fertilizer that is sprinkled under the tree or applied with water from a watering can. Just apply it in regular, small intervals and stop applying in the beginning-to-mid August. Commercial growers are more precise because they have stricter requirements on yield, how long a fruit will store, color, size, etc.
-- Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.