News headlines have raised public awareness of food safety issues, as Salmonella in eggs and E. coli-tainted produce have sickened hundreds. A recent study published by the The Pew Charitable Trusts found that food-borne illnesses cost $152 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, the federal government has pledged to step up efforts to enhance food safety.
Unfortunately, the public-health debate often neglects the science behind such outbreaks. So in November, the scientific research society Sigma Xi will focus on the topic in a symposium, Food Safety and Security: Science and Policy during its 2010 Annual Meeting at the Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, N.C.
“The health and socio-economic impact of issues around food safety and security are enormous,” said Sigma Xi President Joseph Whittaker. “As such, any reasonable attempt towards addressing the enormous complexities, challenges and opportunities involved will require multi-level, multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to find needed consensus.”
The symposium will feature more than 20 experts from academia, industry and government, including representatives from The Giumarra Companies, Food Lion, Chick-fil-A, U.S. Foodservice, and QA magazine. Its purpose is to provide a forum for experts and key players to begin a dialogue to inform and raise the awareness of policymakers and the public about the implications and critical importance of these issues.
More information on Sigma Xi and the Nov. 11-14 symposium is available on the society’s Website, www.sigmaxi.org.