National food security experts to speak at ISU Institute for Food Safety and Security symposium April 19

AMES, Iowa --Food safety and security experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Animal Health Institute and the International Food Information Council are among the speakers set for the first annual symposium of Iowa State University's Institute for Food Safety and Security.

The symposium, "Safe and Secure Food for Public Health and National Security," will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at the Comfort Suites Hotel, 2609 Elwood Drive, Ames.

The symposium will provide an opportunity for researchers, industry leaders and policy makers to discuss methods to ensure a safe food supply in the event of a natural or intentional disaster.

"Food is not just a personal issue, but also a public health and national security issue," said Manjit Misra, institute director. "This symposium will give us the opportunity to address these big picture issues."

Speakers will present strategies for science-based risk analysis, decision making, and communication in the areas of food safety and security.

Mary Torrence, national program leader for food safety, USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service, Washington, D.C., will present the keynote address, "Preparing for Future Challenges in Food Safety and Security through Research and Imagination." Torrence also is the program director for the National Research Initiative's grant program, Epidemiologic Approaches for Food Safety, and program director of the Food Safety-Coordinated Agricultural Project Grant. Her research interests include food safety, infectious and zoonotic diseases, and epidemiology.

Other speakers include:

  • Patrick Clerkin, senior technical advisor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Washington, D.C., who will discuss methods for assuring food safety and security in global trade;
  • Joan Rothenberg, director of food science, International Food Information Council, Washington, D.C., who will address consumer attitudes towards food safety and security and strategies for risk communication;
  • Ron Phillips, vice president, legislative and public affairs, Animal Health Institute, Washington, D.C., who will talk about antibiotics use in animals;
  • Mary Ditto, FDA Office of Food Additive Safety, Division of Biotechnology, will talk about the FDA's role in ensuring safety of food ingredients;
  • Joe Lepley, account executive and senior consultant, RQA Inc., Darien, Ill., will talk about the basic principles of food defense;
  • Dr. Scott Hurd, ISU associate professor of veterinary and production animal medicine and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Risk Assessment in Foods of Animal Origin, will speak on antibiotic use in livestock production; and
  • Sam Beattie, ISU assistant professor of food science and human nutrition and extension food safety specialist, will talk about risk/crisis communications.

The symposium also provides an opportunity to inaugurate the Institute for Food Safety and Security with a lunch celebration featuring remarks from Iowa State University President Gregory Geoffroy.

The Institute for Food Safety and Security was established at ISU to develop science-based solutions for food safety and food security issues in Iowa, the nation and the world.

Registration fee is $100 ($50 for ISU faculty/ staff or $25 for students).The deadline for registration is April 12. For more information or to register, visit or call (800) 262-0015.