2017-12-28 / Editorial Page

Consumers get answers from Ga. Department of Agriculture

Consumer Q’s is a weekly ques­tion and-answer column by Arty Schronce at the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Please share your thoughts, questions and suggestions with him by phone, mail or email.

Q: I want to raise parakeets to sell. Am I required to have a license?

A: In order to help prevent the out­break and spread of avian diseases, as well as to insure humane care, bird breeders and dealers are required to be licensed and inspected. Please contact our Animal Protection Sec­tion at 404-656-4914.

Q: I want to give my mother a dogwood tree for Christmas and have it decorated with bows. Can I plant it on Christmas Day or do I need to wait until spring?

A: Go ahead and plant it on Christmas Day. Do not leave the tree indoors in the warmth for more than a day or two as it may begin to think it is spring and start sprouting. If the ground is frozen, plant the tree on the first available chance you are able to get a shovel in the ground.

Q: Is it true that there are hol­lies that are not evergreen? Why would anyone want hollies without the leaves?

A: Yes, there are hollies that are deciduous (lose their leaves in the fall.) Possumhaw (Ilex decidua) and winterberry (Ilex verticillata) are two deciduous hollies that are Georgia natives and that provide loads of berried branches for Christmas deco­rating or for adding to wintertime flower arrangements. These hollies are also very beautiful, durable and useful in the landscape. Although you may only be familiar with hollies that have evergreen, spiny leaves, give the deciduous ones a chance.

Q: What kind of kerosene should be burned in a home heater?

A: Only K-1 kerosene should be burned in a home heater. Also, heater manufacturers and the Georgia De­partment of Agriculture recommend clear, non-dyed fuel for home use because over an extended period of time, dye can damage a heater. Be sure to follow all the manufacturer’s safety instructions when using a kerosene heater.

Q: Is it safe to cook meat in a crock pot?

A: Slow cookers or crock pots can safely cook food. These countertop appliances cook foods slowly at a low temperature – generally between 170 degrees F and 280 degrees F. The low heat helps leaner, less ex­pensive, cuts of meat become tender and causes less shrinkage. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created within the tightly covered container combine to destroy bacteria and make a slow cooker or crock pot a safe option for cooking foods.

If you have questions about agri­culture, horticulture, food safety or services or products regulated by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, write Arty Schronce (arty.schronce@ agr.georgia.gov) or visit the depart­ment’s website at www.agr.georgia. gov.

Return to top