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Agriculture Gives Tips on Shipping Food Gifts to

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 8, 1996 – Sending food to service members in Bosnia? Department of Agriculture officials have some tips for families and friends who want to send food to Operation Joint Endeavor troops.

They advise not sending perishable foods such as fresh meat and poultry and highmoisture baked goods or fragile foods like homemade cookies to troops in Bosnia. The meat and poultry will spoil. The baked goods are susceptible to mold, and homemade cookies may crumble, agriculture officials said.

"Since temperatures in Bosnia range from very cold in the wintertime to balmy and even hot beginning in June, proper food handling and food safety must be considered when sending gifts," said Bessie Berry, acting director of Agriculture's nationwide meat and poultry hotline. "Remember, don't pack food in glass containers or include glass items in food packages."

Berry said dry beef, such as beef jerky or beef slims, is safe to ship. She also recommended canned foods like tuna, chicken, and franks and beans. But she warned troops should not eat food from damaged or swollen cans.

As for baked goods, Berry said commercially packed cakes and cookies in tins cans, fruit cakes and dry cookies like ginger snaps and crackers will hold up well in Bosnian weather conditions. Raisins, apricots and other dried fruits, canned nuts and fruit and commercially prepared trail mix are also recommended as food gifts.

Families and friends who wish to mail food gifts to service members should send them directly to the addresses provided by the military postal service, Berry said. Those who wish to donate food to American troops in general may send their donations to:

Navy and Marines aboard ship:

Any Service Member

Operation Joint Endeavor

FPO AE 09398

All service land forces:

Any Service Member

Operation Joint Endeavor

APO AE 09397

Families of service members:

Any Family Member

Operation Joint Endeavor

FPO AE 09399

Donated gift packages should not be larger than a shoe box, Berry noted.

For further advice on mailing food gifts via mail and other food safety and handling issues, call agriculture's tollfree meat and poultry hotline at (800) 5354555 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern time. Recorded messages are also available 24 hours a day, every day of the week, Berry noted.

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