Protecting the Food Supply Chain from Foot and Mouth Disease

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In Pennsylvania, which is home to 58,000 farms and 250,000 beef cattle, government officials and food industry leaders are working together to prevent a contamination of our nation's meat supply.

On Wednesday August 13, government officials and food industry leaders conducted a mock tabletop Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) training exercise at Saint Joseph's University. Speakers for the University's "Protect and Defend Our Nation's Food Supply" event included Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolfe and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The program was made possible in large part by Saint Joseph's University's Early Responders Distance Learning Center, and the University's Center for Food Marketing, operating through the Pennsylvania Institute for Food Marketing Education and Research (PIFMER) at the University.

An annual event at Saint Joseph's, "Protect and Defend Our Nation's Food Supply" serves as a forum for exchange and dialogue in strengthening the relationship between the food industry and the government. In recent years, the event has focused on a food contamination event occurring in the dairy and produce industries.

"These exercises are important and critical," Wolfe told attendees during last year's event. "You can have lots of meetings, but until you have a tabletop exercise like this, you really don't understand who your partners are, who the stakeholders are, and how you need to work together to accomplish the goals that need to be achieved."

For more information on "Protect and Defend Our Nation's Food Supply," visit

--Carolyn Steigleman

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