On January 19, faculty members at Washington State University (WSU) held a public lecture on food safety titled “Safe to Eat?: The Science, Politics, and Economics of Food from Farm to Fork.”

The lecture was first presented in December in Seattle as part of WSU “Innovator” lecture series highlighting the university’s research achievements and promoting informed discussion.
The main focus of this particular lecture, according to WSU’s website, is this:

“In the United States, we may be relatively disconnected from the ways our food is grown, harvested, and brought to market, but in the least-developed countries, close interactions with food-producing animals are part of daily life. How do the laws, customs, and economic realities involved in our food-production system affect the things we eat? What can we do to ensure a safe, affordable, and sustainable supply of food for ourselves while respecting the needs of our global community?”

The lecture was hosted by the WSU Common Reading Program.  The program, which is in its third year, encourages critical thinking, communication, and research through stimulating readings.  The book used by freshmen and faculty in many courses this 2009-10 academic year is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals,” by author Michael Pollan.  Pollan visited WSU to meet with students and present a public lecture on Jan. 13.

A video and powerpoint overview of the presentation are available on the WSU Web site.