We have people looking out for you. Whether it’s examining upcoming FDA restaurant menu labeling; exploring food sustainability policies; understanding food allergens and botulism risks at the retail level; or discussing the world’s looming task of feeding 9 billion people – Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (EMD) is bringing together industry and government leaders to discuss the interdependence of the safety, security and sustainability of our food at its Symposium on Food Systems & Public Health: Safe - Secure - Sustainable (S3) on May 13-15 at Hyatt Regency, Sacramento.
The EMD Environmental Health Division, known for its Green-Yellow-Red Placards for retail food inspection, works to improve environmental factors affecting the health and safety of our community by ensuring compliance with environmental regulations for businesses and residents. However, the food safety landscape is shifting, making this role evolve to include the broader perspective of chronic disease and access to healthy foods. The S3 Symposium will illustrate the parallels of protecting the environment and our community food supply, as well as promoting the health of the community.
Sacramento County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman, Phil Serna said, “I look forward to addressing the symposium participants and applaud this effort of taking up the important issue of healthy food access for the hungry, both locally and throughout California.”
The theme of the S3 Symposium is “Adapting Food Safety in Today’s World” and will also bring together industry experts to share the connection between education, food safety, access to healthy food and food sustainability. Healthy food that’s not accessible can be a limitation to good health and a gateway to chronic diseases. The Symposium will also examine the policy work being done at the local, state and national level to address these food deserts in communities.
The Environmental Health Division Chief, John Rogers, sums it up best: “We all have a stake in getting safe and healthy foods to our tables. We need to work together to ensure safe and healthy food is affordable and accessible, as well as safe for the environment.”
There will be two keynote addresses. “The Future of Food: Feeding Nine Billion,” will be on Thursday by Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic Magazine, Executive Editor, Cartography, Graphics, & Art, and lead editorial manager for National Geographic's current food initiative. On Friday, William Marler, Attorney and Managing Partner of Marler Clark will present, “The Burden of Foodborne Illness.”
Another topical subject to be explored is the recent sugar warning label making the rounds at the legislature, its regulatory impact and the potential deleterious impact of high sugar intake. One of the highest contributors of sugar in the American diet is sweetened beverages. With the current obesity epidemic and the explosion of diabetes prevalence, a bill in the California Legislature proposes warning labels on sugar-added beverages with 75 calories or more in one 12-ounce serving.
Other experts will discuss a wide range of topics: emerging hydroponics technologies, the link between food insecurity and chronic disease, emerging risks associated with antimicrobial resistance, and many more critical subjects that will enlighten symposium participates. The symposium will wrap up with a brainstorming session – “Where Do We Go from Here?” – led by Justin Malan, Executive Director of the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health to develop action plans to affect change.
On May 5, to augment the Symposium, EMD presented the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors with a resolution to recognize May 11-15, as: Food Safety, Security and Sustainability Week.
The staff of EMD’s Environmental Health Division will continue to look out for residents as they perform routine retail food inspections, food borne illness investigations and consumer complaint response – but now, they’ll also have their eyes on the horizon of a broader food safety perspective.
The symposium will be attended by Environmental Health Professionals, Public Health Professionals, Political Delegates, Food and Agriculture Industry Representatives, Restaurateurs, Students and Academia. For additional information about the S3 Symposium, visit, www.CaliforniaFood.org.