Published on Thursday, August 14, 2008


Food safety symposium Aug. 19

By Andrew Barksdale
Staff writer


Source of Article:

State agricultural leaders are organizing a symposium in Raleigh next week aimed at making the food supply safer.

Dr. David Acheson, a central figure in the federal government’s investigation of a salmonella outbreak this year that sickened more than 1,300 people across the U.S., will be a key speaker for the Aug. 19 event, “Providing Safe Food for Healthy Families in a Global Economy.”

More than 300 people in the food industry, farming and retail have registered to attend, said Brian Long, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The symposium comes at the heels of the salmonella outbreak initially blamed on tomatoes but later pinned on jalapenos and peppers from Mexico.

“Dr. Acheson certainly brings some fresh relevance to the topic,” Long said.

Although the official deadline to register for the free symposium was Aug. 8, Long said, people can still sign up through Friday. The event, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds, includes a free lunch.

Long said the agriculture department started the annual symposiums — called “AgFIRST!” — four years ago as way to educate North Carolina congressmen on trends in veterinary and food-safety issues and what the department was doing to protect the public.

“It seems to go grow every year,” Long said.

Shaun Kennedy, director of the National Center for Food Safety and Defense, is scheduled to speak about the economic influence that consumer confidence has on the food supply.

Other speakers include Steve Troxler, commissioner of the state agriculture department.

Other topics include the state’s Farm to School Program; efforts to keep Tar Heel produce safe; and food recall initiatives.



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