Symposia highlights of Food Safety Week
Food Safety Week Sept. 15 to19 at the University of Guelph will feature two symposia focusing on food safety research and risk communication.
The Food Safety Risk Communication Symposium will be held Sept. 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arboretum Centre. It's hosted by the Canadian Institute for Food Inspection and Regulation (CIFIR) and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN). Food safety risk communicators from Canada and the United States will share their experiences and lessons learned from communicating urgent food, water and agricultural risks to the public.
"Having a safe food supply is at the forefront of public interest because food safety affects everyone," said Jim Pettit, CIFIR director. "This symposium reflects the importance of having well-trained professionals available to effectively communicate risks or crises impacting the quality and safety of Canada's food system."
Speakers include Allan Bonner, founder of Allan Bonner Communications; André Picard, journalist at the Globe and Mail; and Dennis Guy, founder and president of the Ontario AgRadio Network. Other presenters include William Leiss, executive-in-residence with the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the University of Ottawa; David Ropeik, director of risk communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis; David Schmidt, senior vice-president of food safety and global relations at the International Food Information Council; and Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California at Davis. "Effective risk communication is of great importance in helping consumers understand food safety issues and their potential effect on public health," added David Lineback, JIFSAN director.
The Improving Food Safety Through Research Symposium will be held Sept. 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Arboretum Centre and is sponsored by U of G's Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety (CRIFS). CRIFS houses a Level III biocontainment facility that allows researchers from a variety of U of G departments to examine highly hazardous food and animal-to-human pathogens, such as West Nile virus and tuberculosis, and lower-level pathogens, such as E. coli 0157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria, in a safe and secure environment.
"The symposium is designed to bring everyone up to date on some of the research on food safety being conducted by CRIFS," said director Mansel Griffiths, a professor in the department of food science. "It will provide industry personnel with useful information that they can use to ensure the safety of their products." One keynote speaker is Health Canada scientist Anna Lammerding, who will discuss managing foodborne risks. Other featured speakers include U of G land resource scientist Michael Goss on the survival of foodborne pathogens in the environment, and population medicine professor Scott McEwen, who will discuss antimicrobial resistance and its importance to the food industry.
Other notable events during Food Safety Week include the second annual Food Safety Network golf tournament and dinner social Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. at Victoria Park West golf course, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency President's Graduate Assistantship Showcase Sept. 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Ramada Hotel. Graduate students will give presentations of their research projects on food safety issues, and opening remarks will be made by Richard Fadden, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and U of G president Alastair Summerlee. More information on the symposia and Food Safety Week is available on the CIFIR Web site: www.cifir.ca.
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.