On April 15 and 16, FIC attended the 36th annual National Food Policy Conference in Washington, DC, where consumer groups, government officials, and food industry representatives gathered to discuss key issues facing the food industry and consumers.
This year’s dialogue shifted toward a discussion on Ag Gag bills when conference-goers took time to consider present food safety and animal welfare concerns in industrial agriculture. The laws were debated in a panel discussion concerning the changing standards for humane handling, where experts discussed consumer expectations for the treatment of animals in the food supply.
Further conversation surrounding Ag Gag took place in a panel about the important role that social media plays in informing the public about food production.
“The goal is to create a discussion, not to end it,” said Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University and food safety blogger Dr. Ben Chapman. Instead of blocking consumers from information about food production, he emphasized the importance of empowering consumers by giving them access to accurate data which, in turn, allows for more informed purchasing decisions.