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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Food safety advocate to discuss how to ensure safe food supply, Oct. 24

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

URI-sponsored food safety conference open to public

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 1, 2012 – Caroline Smith De Waal, the nationally renowned food safety advocate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is the keynote speaker at the 18th annual conference of the Rhode Island Food Safety Task Force on Oct. 24.

Her lecture, “How Many Cooks in the Kitchen: The Roles of Consumers and Government in Making our Food Safe,” is part of a half-day conference on food safety that includes a “State of the Plate” presentation by Ernie Julian, chief of the Office of Food Protection at the Rhode Island Department of Health. The event will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1 Thurber St., Warwick. It is open to the public and pre-registration is required.

The conference is sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s College of the Environment and Life Sciences, the Cooperative Extension Food Safety Education Program, and the Rhode Island Food Safety Task Force.

“The Rhode Island Food Safety Task Force is an informal network of representatives from state agencies, academia, the food industry, and non-profit organizations. Our goal is to serve as a resource to the food industry, educators, and consumers on current food safety issues through yearly educational conferences,” said Nicole Richard, a research assistant in the URI Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Food Safety Education Program.

More than 48 million Americans get food-borne illnesses each year, and 3,000 of them die. According to DeWaal, the federal government is on the verge of implementing a variety of new food safety rules, including those stemming from the Food Safety Modernization Act, the New Poultry Inspection System, and new approaches to curtailing antibiotic use in food production.

“Now more than ever, consumers have a voice to affect change and want to use that voice to promote effective programs that will protect their health.” DeWaal said.

Caroline Smith DeWaal is the director of the food safety program for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, and co-author of Is Our Food Safe? A Consumer's Guide to Protecting Your Health and the Environment. Since 1999, she has published an annual listing of food-borne illness outbreaks reported in the U.S., which has been featured at numerous scientific and public policy conferences. DeWaal is a leading expert on legal systems for regulating food, and she authored the Guidelines for Consumer Organizations to Promote National Food Safety Systems.

For more information about the conference registration, visit http://web.uri.edu/foodsafety or contact Nicole Richard at 401-874-2977 or nicolerichard@uri.edu. Seating is limited, pre-registration is required, and the fee of $40 includes a continental breakfast. Pre-registration must be received by October 12, 2012.