October 7, 2009

Since Sept. 1, the Food and Drug Administration has issued just shy of 20 food safety recalls with reasons ranging from undeclared allergens to salmonella contamination. Amidst all the recalls, consumers are left wondering what food products are safe to bring home to the dinner table.

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension professionals realize the important role they play in food recall events, and they are hosting a regional Extension Disaster Education Network Food Protection Conference Nov. 18 and 19 in Lexington.

"This conference will help extension professionals, food industry representatives and representatives from state and federal agencies understand what our role is in helping consumers wade through the FDA food safety recalls," said Andrea Husband, agrosecurity program director for the UK College of Agriculture . "All of us have a vested interest in food protection, and we always want to collaborate with our food safety partners to learn effective ways to pass on our expertise to the consumer."

The conference will feature dynamic general sessions and nationally known speakers, comprehensive food recall and risk communication exercises, food protection planning activities and networking opportunities.

Risk and crisis communication sessions will emphasize opportunities for mitigating harm during food borne illness? outbreaks through effective and timely communication. The interactive sessions will identify challenges risk communication practitioners typically face along with strategies for overcoming the challenges. A panel discussion will feature representatives from local health and agricultural agencies who will reveal lessons they've learned in the field.

A food protection planning session will help participants learn to effectively face such challenges as a power outage or a disgruntled employee who tampers with the company's product. Participants will learn the proper steps to take in these situations and also how to develop a Food Protection Plan and put it to use in their daily work.

The conference begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 18 with registration at the Lexington Downtown Hotel and Conference Center. Alltech is sponsoring a dinner that evening at the Lexington Brewery and Distilling Company. November 19 programming begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m.  Registration is $89 and includes five meals, all sessions and hotel parking.

The Lexington Downtown Hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport. 

For more information visit the EDEN Web site at http://www.EDEN.lsu.edu/FPCSouth.

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