Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Meeting of The Minds On Food Safety

Remember the FDA's historic Food Safety Teleconference for bloggers last November? The one where the FDA, in one of their most grassroots outreach moves, drew up a list of bloggers - average consumers talking about food safety - and invited them to listen in and ask questions about changes they were proposing via their new Food Protection Plan?

Well, pursuant to that call, Bill Marler (a food safety activist/attorney) thought it would be a good idea to set up a food safety conference. He envisioned inviting government, industry, science, and consumer representatives to discuss the present state of food safety, and to propose ways to improve it.

His conference came together. And it's about a month away!

The list of speakers is impressive. Here are a few:

Government Reps:
  • David Acheson, Assistant FDA Commissioner for Food Safety
  • Tom Billy, Former head of USDA/FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service)
  • David Goldman, USDA/FSIS
Industry Reps:
  • Grocery Manufacturers Association
  • Costco Wholesale Corporation
  • Del Monte Foods
International Attendees:
  • Ge Zhirong, Vice Minister AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine), People's Republic of China
  • Chris Griffith, Director of Food Research and Consultancy, University of Wales, UK
  • Deon Mahoney, Food Standards, Australia and New Zealand
  • Jørgen Schlundt Director, Dept of Food Safety, Zoonoses, and Foodborne Illness, World Health Organization, Switzerland
  • Canice Nolan, Head of Food Safety, Health, and Consumer Affairs, European Commission Delegation, Washington, DC
Consumer Reps:
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
Media Reps:
  • Des Moines Register
  • Chicago Tribune
  • New York Times
And several attorneys, including, of course, William D. Marler, Marler Clark LLP PS.

Here's Bill's blog post about the conference:
Who's Minding the Store? - The Current State of Food Safety and How It Can Be Improved - Friday & Saturday, April 11 & 12, 2008

Here's more information on the speakers and panelists from Seattle University's School of Law (the conference's sponsor):
Who’s Minding the Store - The Current State of Food Safety and How It Can Be Improved

And if you're inclined and would like to attend, here's an online registration:
Online Registration: Who's Minding the Store? - April 11 & 12, 2008

Hopefully some basic questions such as ... do voluntary recalls work (neither the FDA nor the USDA have recall authority today), why doesn't the government provide one-stop-shopping for food safety news (Is this all we get?), and how can we use technology to both better inform the public, and better solicit information from them? ... can be answered.

You go, Bill.

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