Commissioner Troxler hosting food safety event Aug. 19
Several hundred representatives of the agriculture and food industries are expected to attend the fourth annual AgFIRST! symposium Aug. 19 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
The theme of the event is “Providing Safe Food for Healthy Families in a Global Economy.” It will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kerr Scott Building. Admission is free, and lunch will be provided.
Scheduled speakers include Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler; Dr. David Acheson, assistant commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Sean Kennedy, director of the Center for Food Safety and Defense, plus executives from the food processing and retail industries.
Acheson will discuss the national strategy to safeguard food, and Kennedy will provide insight into the powerful economic impact of consumer confidence in the food supply. Other topics will include North Carolina’s Farm to School Program, efforts to keep N.C. produce safe, food recall initiatives and responding to foreign animal diseases.
Also scheduled to speak are members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation, including Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, and Reps. Walter Jones and Brad Miller.
“The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is committed to building the nation’s strongest food safety program,” Troxler said. “North Carolina’s economy depends on agribusiness, and the nation depends on North Carolina for safe food.”
The FDA’s months-long national investigation to find the source of an outbreak of salmonella illnesses across the country highlights the importance of maintaining a safe food supply, Troxler said. “That’s why we’re bringing industry and government together. We all must work together to ensure that America’s food supply is as safe as possible,” he said.
Troxler launched the AgFIRST! event in 2005, and it has grown every year, with nearly 200 people attending in 2007, said Joe Reardon, director of the NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division. “AgFIRST! has become a very popular event, we felt like we would need a bigger venue this year, so we moved over to the Scott Building,” Reardon said.
To register or learn more about the symposium, go online to www.ncagr.com/agfirst.