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March 31, 2012

Your Toxic Kitchen
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Store bought foods have become healthier. But there has been an unforeseen side effect- old or open packages stored on your shelf could become toxic. Then, social networks have brought millions of us closer together. But have they also shattered our personal privacy?
Episode Segments:
InfoTrak: Food Gone Bad

Rancid foods are becoming more common, thanks to recent reductions in trans fats. Eric Decker, PhD, Professor, Head of the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts said consumers may have a kitchen full of toxic products and not know it. He explained why these products are potentially dangerous. He also talked about the foods most likely to become rancid and the telltale signs of rancidity that many consumers don’t recognize.
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InfoTrak: Privacy and Social Media

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest nation in the world. Lori Andrews author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy believes that while social networks have made positive contributions to society, they have also greatly accelerated the erosion of personal privacy rights. She explained how social network sites can damage a person’s career or marriage. She would like to see Congress pass new legal protections aimed at safeguarding the privacy of social network users.
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InfoTrak: Smartphone Security

Today’s smartphones hold a wealth of personal, financial and work-related data that thieves would love to get their hands on. So what happens when a phone is lost or stolen? Kevin Haley, Director of Product Management for Symantec Security Response led a research project that intentionally lost 50 phones to see what data was accessed by the finder and whether the phones would be returned to their owners. The results were disconcerting. Mr. Haley offered advice for phone owners to protect their data.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
Eric Decker
Eric Decker received his B.S. degree in Biology from Penn State University in 1982, his M.S. from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Washington State University in 1985 and his PhD from the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1988 where he was a USDA National Needs Fellow. Dr. Decker was an Assistant Professor in the Food Science Section of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky from 1988 to 1993 after which he joined the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as an Associate Professor in Food Chemistry. He was named the Fergus Clydesdale Endowed Chair from 2002-2007. Dr. Decker has been actively conducting research to characterize mechanisms by which lipids oxidize in heterogeneous food systems. His lab has worked extensively in the development of antioxidant technologies for food systems. As part of this research program, he has developed patented technologies to maximize the concentrations and stability of bioactive lipids such as omega-3 fatty acids allowing them to be incorporated into foods at nutritionally significant levels. In addition, Dr. Decker has actively collaborated with other scientists to investigate the role of antioxidants, lipids and lipid oxidation products in the molecular basis of disease. Dr. Decker has published over 250 peer-reviewed journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. He has organized symposia and workshops on antioxidants, bioactive lipids, lipid oxidation and functional foods. He has been named by ISI as one of the Most Highly Cited Scientists in the field of Agriculture. Dr. Decker has served on numerous committees including the FDA Food Advisory Committee as well as the Institute of Medicines Food Forum and Nutritional Standard for Food in Schools Committee. His research has been recognized by the Institute of Food Technologist's the Stephen Chang Award for Lipid Science, Research and Development Award and Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Young Scientist. He has also been awarded the Stephen Chang Award from the American Oil Chemist Society, the Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society's Young Scientist Award, the International Life Science Institute's Future Leader Award and the American Meat Science Association's Achievement Award. Dr. Decker has communicated his research expertise with many companies including Kraft, Unilever, Nestle, General Mills, Tyson, Gortons, Cargill, Pepsico, Monsanto, Coca Cola and Kelloggs.

Eric on LinkedIn

Lori Andrews
Lori Andrews is the director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology. She was named a “Newsmaker of the Year” by the American Bar Association Journal and has served as a regular advisor to the U.S. government on ethical issues regarding new technologies.

Lori's Website