This week, more than 600 public health professionals, health care providers, industry representatives, and food safety experts will take part in the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference in Atlanta. The event, which is jointly hosted by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and the nonprofit, public health organization NSF International, will focus on identifying communication and education strategies to increase the public’s knowledge of the causes of foodborne illnesses and improve food safety practices.

Attendees from 47 states and 31 countries can choose from among 39 breakout sessions and 34 poster sessions featuring 227 presenters. They may also visit 28 exhibits. Eight pre-conference workshops include sessions on food safety, HACCP certification, and training topics, according to the conference organizers.

The conference will be be kicked off by Jerold R. Mande, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, and Michael Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will provide the keynote address on the opening day. Mr. Taylor will be joined by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Al Almanza who will review FSIS’ efforts to implement the recommendations of the President’s Food Safety Working Group.
Among the 227 presenters who will discuss educating consumers about the causes and effects of foodborne illness and strategies for its prevention: Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Shelley Feist, the director of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, and Francoise Fontannaz, of the World Health Organization’s Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses, and Foodborne Diseases.

The theme of the conference is: “Advancements in Food Safety Education: Trends, Tools and Technologies.” According to the organizers, the conference will explore “the latest communication trends, tools and technologies to best reach the consumer and affect consumer behavior and public awareness in an increasingly crowded information environment.”
Nearly 60 food safety experts from the USDA, NSF International, FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies have worked for over a year to develop this conference. The event is also sponsored by FDA, NSF/WHO Collaborating Centre for Food Safety, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, CDC, and the Partnership for Food Safety Education.
The conference program is available at, registration is full. Food Safety News will be at the event live-tweeting from @foodsafetynews.