Pennsylvania Agriculture, Health Secretaries Kick Off Statewide Food Safety Tour

Source of Article:  http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Pennsylvania-Agriculture-Health-Secretaries-Kick/story.aspx?guid=%7B0B30F3E0-EA3F-4AA1-BD7D-B379EDC0B39F%7D

Last update: 2:52 p.m. EST Nov. 3, 2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov 03, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Pennsylvanians Urged to Participate in Food Safety Round Table Discussions

Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff and Acting Health Secretary Everette James today kicked off the first leg of a statewide tour focused on food safety that included stops in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties.

The tour is part of the Strategy for Agriculture and Food Excellence, or SAFE, initiative, which is a comprehensive plan to address food safety and defense from the farm to the fork.

"Our modern food supply is complex and includes many steps from the initial production in the field to the final product served to consumers," said Wolff. "These tours are an important step in understanding the precautions Pennsylvania producers, companies, manufacturers and organizations are taking to ensure the safety of our food supply."

During day one of the four-part tour, Wolff and James visited Turkey Hill Dairies in Conestoga, Lancaster County; Rice Fruit in Gardners, Adams County; Hanson Technologies in Carlisle, Cumberland County; and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg, Dauphin County.

"Everyone plays a role in assuring the safety of our food supply," James said. "When working together, commonwealth producers, suppliers and consumers, along with state and federal food safety agencies, can make our food as safe as possible. If problems do occur, we are committed to quickly recognizing and containing any and all food safety threats."

Other stops on the tour include public round table discussions featuring consumer testimony about food safety. The discussions will be held at the Penn State Food Science Building, University Park, at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 7; Columbia County Extension Office, Bloomsburg, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10; and Westmoreland County Conservation District Center, Greensburg, at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17.

"The SAFE initiative sends a clear message to all Pennsylvanians that we are committed to protecting their health through a safe, nutritious and abundant food supply," said James.

"I urge all Pennsylvanians to increase their awareness of issues surrounding food safety and am looking forward to key stakeholders participating in these round table meetings," added Wolff. "Information shared during these discussions is invaluable and will be brought back to Harrisburg to develop consumer-focused food safety and security protocols and practices and facilitate coordination among federal, regional, state and local efforts."

SAFE is a cooperative effort between the Pennsylvania departments of Agriculture and Health, in coordination with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, as well as input from food processors, retailers and health officials.

 

CONTACT: Nicole L. C. Bucher (Ag)

717-787-5085

Holli Senior (Health)

717-787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

 http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us

 

 

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