Food the center of celebration and subject for concern
Blackburg, Va. -- The Choices and Challenges "Food Frights" forum, at Virginia Tech on Thursday, April 11, 2002, will explore the controversies and dangers that surround food.
"We are a society concerned with food. We plan our lives around mealtime. Food is at the center of our celebrations.. Yet, an estimated 76 million Americans get sick and more than 5,000 die annually from food-related illnesses," says Doris Zallen, Choices and Challenges project director and a faculty member in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech.
There are reports about 'mad-cow disease', Salmonella, and other potential contaminants infiltrating the food supply. Is our food safe? And who makes that decision?
Advances in biotechnology now permit new combinations of genes to be introduced into our foods. These genetically modified (GM) foods have been developed to ensure resistance to diseases in the field, longer shelf life in the store, or better nutritional content. But how do such foods affect our health, the environment, our view of nature? Can GM foods help relieve food scarcity in developing countries or might they, instead, cause economic hardships that make matters worse? Who should make decisions regarding GM foods?
Many of us are turning to dietary supplements to improve our health. How much do we know about the possibility of herbal overdose, drug interactions, or malnutrition?
Recent events have intensified concerns about bioterrorism. Could our own food supply be targeted? What can we do to protect it and ourselves?
"The Food Frights forum will explore these questions from a variety of perspectives so that we can make better informed -- and wiser -- decisions for ourselves, our families, our clients, and our communities," says Zallen.
Keynote speaker Lester Crawford, deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and director of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Virginia Tech, will introduce the nature of food production and distribution -- including current technological manipulations such as genetic modification and the ethical, social, and policy issues that are raised.
There will be breakout sessions on risk analysis, history of US food safety regulation, the biological aspects of food safety, chemical and physical aspects of food safety, and environmental perspectives; a general session on the safety of the food supply, with speakers from government, academe, and industry; and policy follow-up sessions addressing professional and public involvement, labeling and tracking, "functional foods," sources of public information, and international perspectives. The day will conclude with a panel discussion of food bioterrorism, moderated by Craig Reed, administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and visiting professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.
The program will be in the Donaldson Brown Hotel and Conference Center (corner of Otey Street and College Avenue, Blacksburg) on the Virginia Tech campus. There is no charge to attend but registration is encouraged. Learn more at http://www.cddc.vt.edu/choices/2002/.
This forum is a production of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Human Resources and Education, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program. Additional support has been provided by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy.
For more information, contact the Choices and Challenges Project Center for Interdisciplinary Studies Virginia Tech, Mail Code: 0227 Blacksburg, Virginia 24061 Phone: 540-231-6476 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accreditation/Credit: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of The Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) through the joint sponsorship of Carilion Health System CME Program and Virginia Tech Choices and Challenges Project. Carilion Health System is accredited by the MSV to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Carilion Health System designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6.75 hours in category 1 credit toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the activity.
For information about other CE credits, call 540-231-6476.