tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN March 28, 2018 10:48am-1:29pm EDT
dedicated to advancing consumer interest or research education inadequacy. at cfa we focus on a lot of different food issues, including food safety, agriculture and nutrition policy and we would get all of those that does conference. the serious food policy conference is once again a tremendous opportunity to explore food policy from its range of days. i agree we have an excellent agenda and that agenda reflects the exemplary work of our advisory committee and all the people that help us put it together or listed in your pack in your packet. i'd like to take a minute to recognize them here. they are really putting the
program together, identifying the timely topics in the great speakers we've put together for you. i would like to thank them. you'll notice we have one change in your program in the addendum they are. so take notice of that. so this conference provides an opportunity to hear from some of the key players and policymakers in the food policy world and this year we are pleased to have academe adtran kerman rotenberg joining us in just a few minutes. joining us for lunch today is former usda secretary dan glickman, now the executive director of the aspen institute congressional program. tomorrow we will start with an address from dr. scott gottlieb, commissioner of food and drug of
the u.s. food and drug administration and later in the day we will have the dean of the school of nutrition science and policy at tufts university. nearly 300 people had registered for the conference. many of your washington area veterans and many of you have traveled across the country, from abroad. as you can see from the attendee list in your packet here, we've got a really diverse group of consumer advocate to representatives from food industry, academics, dietitian has been graduate law students and whatever you do, wherever you are from does not risk the great opportunity with a great group of folks and we appreciate you joining us here today and hope you enjoy the program.
if any of you are on twitter, you can follow less at times the fa food policy. i think it on your program and hashtag for the conference is # cfa spc. we also have our own national food policy conference app. if you haven't downloaded it already, there are instructions on the table and we have wi-fi that you can plug into to help with that. you can use the have to do things like access panel descriptions, view a map of the hotel and some of you may have notice we don't have bios. that is a map of the hotel. we try to save some trees by doing that. if you are like a meme in
technologically challenged you can't seem to keep in a storage space on your phone for a new wap, there's some hard copies on the table down there, too. check out the app. a couple points on logistics. we are now in the presidential ballroom. we will be having our sessions here as well as lunch. the breakout sessions are all located down the hall. make the last. restaurants are located down the hall to the left you can just ask one of our folks at the registration table we also have panel descriptions in the app and you can consult those if you're having a hard time deciding which breakout panel to go to later.
we have exhibit tables out to your left where you came in. we have exhibitors from the u.s. food and drug administration center for food safety and applied nutrition. usda economic research service. the national quorum school network. northeastern university. partnership for food safety education, nsf international and self-help credit union. we also have a table for general information if anyone has reports, brochures or handout. you can use that table. for those of you interested in continuing education or professional development credits, you can pick up your certificate at the conclusion of the program tomorrow at the registration tables. i would like to take a minute to thank our sponsors listed on the back of your program here. we are very grateful to our sponsors for their support. these companies and organizations recognized the importance of supporting an
event like this where we can foster an open and vigorous exchange of ideas on important food policy topics. thanks to all of our sponsors listed here. in particular i would like to thank our underwriters and there's, beef products inc., dow, dupont agricultural division, general mills, moore's inc., to future routable travis and wal-mart. i would also like to thank sally squires and her team of food nutrition and wellness practice for their promotional support. you have seen their excellent design work over the past several months in the e-mails you keep getting in the program and posters outside as well. a special thanks to the csa staff. they put an enormous amount of hard work to register
participants, prepare conference materials and deal with the logistical work that goes into making this conference have been. in particular, i'd like to thank ana maria mowry on the rest of the staff here today. so thank you for all being here. once again, welcome to the 2018 national food policy conference. to kick off our program, to introduce our first speaker, pleased to welcome to this stage, veteran food industry and the dairy industry, more than 30 years of experience in dairy product processing and her publication credits include such works as dairy processing and quality assurance in manufacturing yogurt. so think of her as you enjoy. please welcome to the stage come as senior vice president of regulatory affairs committee international food association, carrie frye.
[applause] >> good morning. it is my pleasure to welcome you to the national food policy conference organized by the consumer federation of america. this premiere event really provides a unique forum for in-depth discussion or insight on key issues related to consumers, the food industry and government. i am honored today, this morning to introduce the keynote speaker, carmen battenberg, at deputy undersecretary for food safety. last august, ms. rotenberg dedicated her career to admission into safety. in this position, she oversees development, implementation, enforcement of all sfis policy,
regulations and procedures. she has held various leadership roles at the food safety inspection service where she spearheaded strategic planning to help implement a movie agency forward with planning that was science-based and help make science-based decisions. her vision has led to increased awareness and engagement of the public health mission for the 9000 employees she works with. please join me in welcoming deputy undersecretary rotenberg. [laughter] >> thank you, kerry and thank you to all of you for having me here today. secretary perdue really wanted to be here today and unfortunately other travel he had prevented him from doing so.
i am really just thrilled that you all have made. you know, i have three children who are constantly eating me out of house and home. and i also obviously i'm in charge of ensuring the safety of egg products in the regulatory agency sfis that has jurisdiction over those products. i often tell people that providing food, producing food in ensuring safety of food is something i think of all the time. food policy community is a small one domestically and internationally and this is a really exciting time to be here with all of you here today. i want to talk to you a little bit about what i see as intersections and crossroads as how we look at the work we do in the food policy space. i'm hoping you think about that as you move through the next couple days.
thomas talked about many of the individuals here. academics, industry food reducers and the manufacturers, retailers, students, consumer advocates, lawyers, doctors, veterinarians, commissioned corps officers. i cite commissioned corps officer. where are you? thank you for the work you do. they have a safety and inspection service dod. and i'm sure we have a host of other people here also who play different roles in what were referred to as food continue on. but our paths intersect. sometimes we are aware when that happens and sometimes were not. at a conference like this, we are very aware of the intersection that we have coming together as food policy advocates. as i hear about the sponsors
that are offending this conference over the next couple days. hosted by the consumer federation of america, but funded by food industry. many of the sponsors are in the food industry, regulated food industry. the press release that csa put out since for decades the national food policy conference has been an institution in a unique collaboration between consumer advocates, food industry and government. the conference is organized by the federation of america's highly anticipated national gathering for those interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. this purposeful intersection is important. ..
from a safety perspective it's incumbent on industry to produce fruit and product. we have the safest food in the world. consumers expect safe food and as our government regulators verify the food we eat is safe, we all play a role in the food safety space. it's not only in food safety. it's nutrition, food security, it's everything the department of agriculture does 2 feet" the world. how do we differentiate where
we come to these crossroad. that's a point at which you all play a pivotal role. the crossroad is an intersection of two roads but crossroads, the connotation of crossroads that there is a decision point at which you need to decide which direction scope. it's not a negative connotation, it's just a decision point. as public servants, as regulators, as your public health partners and federal government, as i set our space is an interesting one, especially as it relates to food. as regulators, we are also consumers and scientists and doctors and lawyers on our frame is shaped by those life experiences and by our cultural experiences around food, especially when we think about handling and cooking practices. when we stand in the middle of the intersection, we see consumer demand for affordability, quality and the increasing information in the global marketplace, and the
doctor will talk about labeling when he speaks to you tomorrow, there is consumer demand for that. there is incredible demand. we also see industry innovation, new technologies, incredible technological innovation going on in industry. we work with states and other federal health partners on how to ensure our policy is not the limiting factor for consumer choice or industry innovation or small plants and their success. our mission is always public health. how do we use data points and science to best inform our decisions when we come to the crossroads. the secretary often comments to american producers, he has a couple things he says. one is to do right and feed everyone and the second is if
you grow it we will help you sell it. he says that to american producers. the secretary knows food safety is the critical underpinning of the global marketplace. that is not lost on us. when we come to crossroads, which we do, we must do, this group, those focused on food policy, you get to drive that. crossroads are opportunities so i will talk about regulatory reform in the connotation of crossroads as opportunities. i told thomas i would tease him for his press release where i was going to talk about controversial topics. i think it's less controversial than some would make out but it is an opportunity and a space in which you all have an important role to play. you want to talk about regulatory reform.
in order to look at opportunities for reducing regulation on industry, that's part of the commitment as one of the campaign promises and we are looking at regulatory reform in terms of what is outdated that needs to be changed. what are the limiting factors that are preventing consumers from getting the food and information they want, preventing them from having greater food safety. we are embarking on this process of looking at the regulation and seeing what regulations we need to update open regulations and what regulations might be taken off the book. there is a task force set up, there's also an open comment.
and everywhere i go, i tell people to comment. there's many consumer advocacy groups. the secretary's team is looking at the reform ideas on a courtly basis. we talk about really try reform, there are a couple ways which is the agency that i lead, there's a couple ways we think about regulatory reform. we think about revelatory reform in the context of this sector is initiative but were also thinking about it because it's what we've been doing since the late '90s as an agency as we look to modernize our inspection system and practices. imagine there's tremendous innovation going on industry, there's a great deal of technological advancement and there are opportunities to gain efficiencies and how we
maintain the same degree. we're looking at having industry sort out carcasses and do the trimming. it allows us to put our resources into other places in the establishment. it allows industry to run at faster line speeds as a result. there is benefit to all of those in the food continuum that we talk about in that space. we have proposed a rule until may 2 and the new swine
inspection is a similar kind of modernization initiative as we look at swine slaughter. we have proposed an egg modern night vision proposed rule, it also follows under jurisdiction and we are looking at putting egg products inspection under the critical point model as we do with meat and poultry. we have that modernization initiative going on. looking at performance standards. we have published performance standards that we promise to do for a whole carcasses and will be publishing it for chicken parts in the coming months and we are looking to update, as part of regulatory, not necessarily regulatory reform but looking at what's outdated and needs to be updated, looking at updating our performance standards for salmonella and pork
performance standards and setting those. these are really important things as we look to have the market drive what consumers purchase. they want to know that their product is safe and they want to have options and know more about their food. when you look at the pendulum swinging from the time when i was growing up in the winter you ate canned food and canned vegetables. when i go to costco, they require me too buy berries all winter long. that's an interesting shift in how consumers expectations are for the food that they purchase. by setting standards, it's an important step toward letting the marketplace drive what product gets produced by the big retailers. we put up the scorecard and
consumers and purchasers get to make determinations about what products they buy. this is important work that the agency is doing. we were asked often about modernization and were looking to move forward in a similar way as we've done with poultry and swine. we do not have a pilot project for these but we will be talking about what new technologies will go out with the federal register notice, looking for new technologies that the beef industry has an interest that they have been modernizing as it relates to their technologies so we can look at how we modernize inspections. i was hoping to have time for questions so i will try to wrap up.
as we moved to modernization for science, were really looking to hold sequencing and that's across federal government. i didn't talk a lot about the role that our federal government collaborators play in the space of innovation and intersection, but at the critical space that we play with cdc and fda and food safety and those are just a few, there 17 agencies that deal with food safety. in looking at how we trace back and how, with more certainty and outbreak investigation we can identify the product at the root of the outbreak, we can do that as we move toward the genome sequencing technology. it improves surveillance but not just regulated products. because fdi is also using it. every fires us to respond more quickly and trace back and
ensure that we will be able to use this even as we look to do environmental sampling in the establishment. there's a tremendous amount of work going on in that space. >> i should've started with the slide because according to the slide every lost many of you. you see how the average attention span, we put the slides together and you see how the average attention span has decreased over time. consumers want information quickly. the federal government does not move quickly enough for consumers today. part of that is because of limiting factors and how quickly they can analyze. part of it is we need to be more efficient with the utilization of our time and our resources in the federal government where we have issues of public health concern and we need to do better at that. usda, the secretary has
charged us with being better, being more responsive to customers and who are customers. you are all our customers. we really look at it as how can we get information to consumers as quickly as possible. we do a lot around our twitter account which has 1.4 million followers and her messages get retreated many times, we have a spanish-language account and we have many very successful campaigns in order to get consumer safety information. this is about safe food handling practices and recall them all of the information around keeping you and your family safe during hurricanes and other natural disaster. this really is our way to
connect across united states to families who might not otherwise have access to usda and usda services. i have a quick little, a very popular tweet out there, may the fourth be with you. the social media resonates with the users we talk about collaboration and intersection in this idea that when you get to a crossroad their decision points that need to be made. who is the face of that. who are the faces of our food safety. some of you follow this every month but this is another way we can have our social media accounts resonate with users
so they see who we have at the frontlines of food safety and what their backgrounds are. >> i will disclose by saying intersections are important but crossroads can be pivotal. as we look at which direction we are going, we may not agree but we cannot ignore that food production and demand in this country is changing and i do hope that as you attend the session on science and foodborne illness and policy medication, that you are thinking about how you drive that policy through your comments and federal register notices, to the pr campaign, what are you doing as an individual and part of the organization that you serve in order to advance your policy. you take the position you've always held? what you open yourself up to different ideas that you been exposed to in these intersection. i'll just close with secretary purdue who recently put out a
new civil rights state policy statement and this may seemed like a strange way to close. just hang with me for a second. at the end of the civil rights statement, which he actually wrote, he said, at usda we know food has the power to unite. i think that's a simple but very powerful statement and i think everyone in this room would agree with it i want to thank you all for your hard work and dedication to advocacy and science and food safety and for the opportunity to be with you today. thank you very much. >> thank you. i want to keep you updated just for a second paramedical around the microphone good
morning carmen. i think i'm going to grandstand. i wanted to touch on the proposal. >> can you hold the microphone closer? >> sure. >> in october we filed a freedom of information request on a new plant in michigan, clemens. that state-of-the-art plant had applied for a line speed waiver and that piqued her interest in the plant. we receive the information from the agency and in reading the training materials that was used to train your inspectors, it's obvious what this plant is now doing is
very similar to what you're proposing in the proposed rule. the plant received received approval in september 2017. the plant actually implemented a new system where you reduce the number of inspectors at the fodder line at that time. two weeks later. overall, the plant is in compliance with the waiver thus far and is being proactive during line speed increases in determining
control. they have been averaging between head. hour with another redaction, being determined by the establishment, a speed where they were not able to maintain process control. the vague statement that the agency always uses. they do not identify issues taking action to reduce the line speed. can you tell us exactly what happened, out what line speed at the time there is process control issues and what speed is that plant currently running at. >> the e-mail that tony read from is redacted because the process, the number of hogs slaughtered in the facility is considered confidential information as part of the company's business plans and
model. do you have more follow-up. >> this is the thing. >> plans are required to ensure they have process control. >> what does that mean. >> there's a variety of things involved in looking at process control. >> inspector has the ability. [inaudible] >> you are asking if the comment on things that we do not know. we do not know what the optima and line speed is. you are giving them a blank check to run as fast as they want and yet here you have a brand-new plant, state-of-the-art and it's
increased to a point where it could not maintain process control, whatever that means. what happens and what was the language and what was the line speed? >> i'll talk a little bit about the line speed in relation to tony's question. line speed is the speed at which the agency has determined inspectors can inspect products. when we look to what the line speeds are set at four hogs in traditional establishments, meaning establishments that do not have waivers, the line speed is set based on outdated work metrics about the amount of time it takes to walk from one sorting activity to another sorting activity, and other inspections tasks. what we have found in the pilot project that we did on which the new swine inspect
and system is based is that the establishments can run, were talking market hog establishments and i should just be very clear on that they are young healthy animals that are very uniform in size and weight. so what we find, although we do believe that in poultry establishments there is a maximum speed in which inspectors can inspect products for slaughter, at hog establishments we do not believe there is a line speed at which, because of the size of the animal that there's a line speed at which establishments can run where inspectors cannot inspect products. we've asked for comments on that and what we say is if any time and establishment loses process control, and that's related to food safety and quality issues, then it's
incumbent on the establishment to slow down or stop the line and our inspectors have the ability to slow down or stop the line. i'm not to spend the time today to go through specific issues related to that plant because some of it is confidential information and obviously there is other information that you are asking that i'm not going to go specifically into. i will leave it at that. >> one more question. >> understand this is very capitated issue and you are taking public comments on this. are you planning to have any public meetings because, i have found in the past those are very useful venues to sort out some of the issues that different stakeholders have. >> we are not planning on
having a public meeting. we did a webinar for someone last week and we will do that again before the end of the comment. go through the rule and what it is. the public meeting is set up to be in terms of administrative procedure world to be an opportunity at the agency has additional information that they want shared with stakeholders that might inform the comments on the role. we have set in the rule is what we are proposing. everything we are proposing is in the proposed rule. that is why we've opted to go the route of doing webinars in order to get information out and understand that there have been questions about what is in the proposed rule. it's an opportunity to walk stakeholders through the proposal in a way that achieves the same result as
what we would do in a public meeting. >> other questions? >> thank you so much. [applause] i would like to invite the speakers for next panel up to the stage and i am happy to introduce one of our most valued advisory committee members to come up. to moderate this next session. he is one of the brains behind the new format that we are experimenting with this year at the food policy conference and i think you'll really like what we have got in store for you. i will pass it over to you.
>> thank you thomas. i appreciate that. i paid him a lot of money to say those kind things about me. we are glad that you are here this morning and i am, i have the pleasure of getting to facilitate a conversation about those who are tasked. if you know anything about the way the government works in the way in which policy, both of those are very complex issues, complicated and wrought with emotion as we just saw acted out on stage, that these are very capitated complex issues. today we have three experts in this arena and they all play very different sandboxes.
immediately to my left, she is research director for u.s. right to know and the story of a weedkiller cancer and corruption of science. she was formally with writers as well. next to her, if those of you are familiar, they are doing amazing work. next to her is the end charles who is food and agricultural correspondent with the national public radio which is the number one select on my radio dial. you're kind of the last of npr, right.
>> as ground rules, i wanted to establish something, about six months ago i was at the dinner table with my 7-year-old when i said something to my wife and my daughter went like this and i said what is that about. she said, in her class they are doing show and tell and rather than thing i've read that book or i have that book, that if the speaker says something that resonates with and you agree with what you think yes, you do this so it's rather than, i would invite you as a way of rather than giving encouragement for speaker, if you say something that resonates with you or you agree with it. let's all try it. perfect. you got it down. help us get acquainted with just a little bit.
they once said life must be lived forward but is only understood backwards. we want you to look backwards for just a little bit and give you two minute elevator speech of what brought you to the point that you are do the position that you are and give us a little bit of your story and you and your background. >> mi on? >> have always known i wanted to be a journalist but i never wanted to be anything else from middle school on. that's what i pursued. when i was a young child watergate was happening and i remember my parents glued to the television. i always wanted to be a journalist to meet interesting people and learn about their lives and tell their stories. i still feel very passionate about journalism. i feel thi that being a
journalist is the way that i bring truth to light and that i share facts with people who are doing more important things in the world and don't have time to dig up the information they need to make choices for their own lives. i spent most of my career at writers. i started their 1998. i left a couple years ago i went to work for u.s. right to know which is very small and poor nonprofit. we work primarily to do what i did its journalist and to share with journalists. i file a lot of freedom of information request and i find a lot of them to be redacted, sadly. they filed a lawsuit against epa couple years ago, the first time ever against the federal agency to try to get them to comply with the law.
my 20 years of research from the time i started work with writers in 1998, my work most focused on food and agriculture. that's how i came to be familiar with a lot of issues we are tackling today. >> julia. >> hello everyone. i also chose journalism at a young age but i don't i fully understood what was. i've been working in journalism. i'm from toronto canada and i started as a general assignment reporter at our national meet newsmagazine in canada and i worked in london for various national publications there and back home and returned around the
time of the global crisis which was an interesting time in media and kind of saw newspapers and magazines that i grew up with. it would probably make me more resilient for many of the challenges we are facing now. it started as general assignmen assignment, touching on many different areas and unfortunately we went down this rabbit hole of health and science and it seemed like the space that lacked. particularly about a decade ago, critical voices and concerned about researching consumer health.
i came to the states by way of, there is a year-long science reporting fellowship you can do at mit and i went there thinking i would return to canada but it seemed like this really interesting newsroom where i was really interested in telling stories up across different media and it seemed like a fascinating place to be there. my main focus is definitely more on the medical side, but since i've been in the u.s. there is a lot of hunger for nutrition and food reporting and i find increasingly i've been waiting in those areas as well. it's great to be here with all of you today.
>> it was an interesting question a thing about how did i get here. i think i arrived at food journalism and science journalism by way of farming and science journalism. i grew up on a dairy farm in pennsylvania and for whatever reason i also got bitten by the journalism bug but i didn't know any journalists. it was through a series of weird coincidences that when i finished up college in d.c. and i met some people in that world ipaq maybe you can't so i tried freelancing without a huge amount of success for little while and then again, you just walk through the doors that open and the thing that opened where they found a
way to do freelancing for some science magazines and that was new scientists which was british weekly science magazine which is a couple other publications but they paid, basically. so one thing led to another and i ended up working for them in new sciences and npr. while i was doing that, just because of my background, and it up writing more about agricultural things. long story short, some years back, npr raise the money to actually have a physician covering food and agriculture and they let me come back. it was great. through that, i approached it initially more through the science lens but i've gotten back to the food lens as
well. this is journalistic integrity and objectivity. hunter thompson, the noted journalist once remarked with the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as objective journalism. the phrase itself is a pompous contradiction of terms. you agree or disagree? should journalists aspire to objectivity. >> i disagree. i think hunter thompson, he went from conventional to gonzo journalism, getting yourself involved in the story, that works in some mediums and magazines, it's not mainstream journalism and never has been put i hope it never will be. we are truth tellers. ibc as you grow up and you
come from different backgrounds and have different perspective, you can call tobias or not a bias but everyone who reads the news has a different background and take things in a different context. as a journalist you are trained to look at both sides in question both sides and be the person who always says but what if, to play devils advocate. to try to gather information from as many different involved and engaged and informed voices and share that in a way that people can use for their own lives. >> i agree with them a little bit. so, because there are choices and what you cover and there are choices in the questions that you choose to look at those traces reflect the evaluation of what's important that the personal and sometimes organizational and political decision, and so,
you bring that to your job, your organization brings out your job, and soda society at large. those are determined to shape your coverage. that said, i agree one of the core parts of the job is trying to find the best and most reliable information. partly out of your own self-interest because that's the only way to build any trust. >> you can build trust two ways. you can build trust within a certain segment of the population by basically writing stuff that appeals to that tribe and you build trust within that tribe, but if you want to build trust broadly among the largest swaths of
people and that's what we try to do npr, you have to be seen as someone who is trustworthy in a larger sense. >> dan, your comments lead us into this next pace. one of the things making the possibility of objectivity a little more complex and collocated is the necessity to make sure that your content is palatable to the consumer. talk about the struggle of journalism versus entertainment, challenging education, challenging their positioning versus substantiating a bias. >> i think it's something where we are struggling every day and in particular in this news cycl cycle, he kinda miss it in some ways. we are going at quite a clip and even if you're not in the center of a political storm, just the absolute pace of
breaking news and you can wake up one morning and at anytime in the last year there are five stories that in the past would have been a one news for weeks and i almost don't breakthrough in this news cycle. were kind of constantly thinking about how to balance, what is something that can compete with all of the other things that are going on and can grasp people the tension and what do they need to know that they and we are quite a small newsroom that there's only a certain number of things we can cover in that rubric we use, what can we add to this that may be we are uniquely positioned to cover that other people at the time in the washington post or npr, they might not have this unique angle or view or unique access to something so kinda
thinking about what is the audience need to know today, what can they bring this unique team to actually do them and also, what is grabbing an interesting and what will people, what's the story they need and will want to read. >> at reuters, as i said, i started in 1998 and left at the end of 2015 and there is a very transformational change that came about. it wasn't fundamentally changing the news. entertainment news is entertainment news. there's all sorts of different elements of news. what changed was how we tried to appeal to readers and it was a lot of video, it was shorter, quicker stories, stories that were maybe less colorful and less narrative but quick hits. i think the news industry thanks readers have a very short attention span when they want their stories told
through short video clips. how are they sort of obsessed with analytics and in-depth pieces, people want to read the them. were going into some different directions because on the standard news magazines, since i first started working there back in the early '90s, the push has been almost constant toward shorter and shorter
segments. part of that is because the organization has grown and there's more reporters trying to get their stuff on the air and there's just a crush and in the past year or two years is just been incredible because the politics and the washington scene, they're just filling that two hours so it's tougher to get on the air and that's driving things to be shorter, but at the same time you have the podcast role coming on which has been tremendously energizing for the world of audio and it's been more storytelling, deeply diving into things, you have science shows, i don't know if your family with that. it feels like it's going in all kinds of different directions. >> particularly in the areas of science, it seems to me that you're almost crippled by assignments thing get this to
us in two minutes or 20 seconds. can you say something about how you tried to take very complex, sometimes scientific data and sometimes policy which is also a very complex issue and try to get into a doable dose for your consumer. >> it's tough. plus, on radio. >> basically people don't hear numbers on the radio. they hear relationships so you can say things like twice as big as, but for numbers, you just don't do numbers on the radio. on the other hand, we have the website, that's where we put the numbers if we've got them. >> we started a few years ago this antidote to the daily, avocados are good for you one day megan to kill you the next. coffee is the elixir of life one day and it's causing cancer the next.
it's called show me the evidence and the whole idea is to look at the totality of the research and draw on systematic reviews which as many of you know are the papers that bring together and systematically analyze all the research on a given subject and those have been some of the best performing articles i've written, these installments in the show me the evidence series and often like 10000 words and going through the research in fine, nerdy detail and talk about the methodologies of different papers in what's known and not known and i think there's actually a hunger for that. on the other hand, sometimes these quick takes on something, i think your analysis or assessment of things going in these two directions is absolutely correct and it's what the
audience member wanted at a given moment, the rushing in the morning and they want to see the top headlines, are they listening to a podcast whether cleaning or exercising. >> let's turn the prism just a little bit and see if we can get another shade of light. they said everyone is a prisoner of his or her own experiences, no one can eliminate, what are your gnome prejudice you bring to your work and do you seek to compensate for them or do you are no. [inaudible] >> i guess have a really low tolerance for very bold claims
, i am quite sensitive to nutrition interest and how those drive particular agendas and some of the claims that are made about food or medicine, and when you report in these areas for even a little while, you start to see those claims being overturned pretty quickly, you really, click single studies are claims outside the rest of the research so there's a new study that people are hyping that medicine will be this incredible new thing so i become very sensitive to that and maybe to the extent, not closed minded but my editor who push me sometimes to say maybe we need to give this a
chance because you become a little bit jaded. >> cynical. one thing, following along on that, trying to assess and determine what type of science, what the science is these days and what is authentic science, what you can trust in what you can rely on and build your reporting in your research on has become so difficult. maybe only because we become more aware. maybe it's always been this way. there's an abundance of evidence has come to light over recent years through freedom of information act, request for litigations and things like that about the manipulation of our scientific record by corporations, by special interests, people who have, people who make money in the food industry. we see this in this sugar
industry and with genetically engineered seeds in the pesticide cycle along with them, we fit with tobacco. >> the blueberry council, the walnut council. >> ) it goes on and on. trying to find that authentic, unbiased independent scientific voice that we can share and rely upon in that we can hopefully encourage people to build policy on is very difficult for a reporter. there's a lot of powerful forces were intentionally trying to mislead, deceive, conceal information. it's our job to undo that and to bring that to light, but it's hard. >> it's a difficult question because you're kind of putting us on the couch here, sort of to confess our deepest weaknesses, which of course, we don't want to do that,
first of all so there are two things that come to mind. one is there is identity prejudice, at npr there's a lot of discussion about how to we diversify in the newsroom. i come from a particular place, i'm a man, i am white, i came from small town rural area. there are certain things that i'm attuned to and things that i'm not. so part of it is honestly trying to think about that and say what am i missing and who can we bring to the newsroom that can see things that i don't see. that's part of it. the other part is, we all mentioned that we wanted to be journalists when we were kids and carrie said all the
presidents men, all that. there is, a lot of us felt like this was a way to make the world a better place. bring truth or, so in food journalism sort of do something that will promote protecting the environment or ensuring that more people have a more adequate diet, all of those things. the thing is, the thing you learn in journalism is your most formidable to falling off the horse are stepping over the cliff or whatever your favorite metaphor is when you're too trusting of the people who you feel share your values. i don't know if you have had this expense, but you tend to be less skeptical of the people who you think are doing good work. they are the people who will actually, who are most
damaging because your guard is down your less skeptical. i don't know if that answers your question. >> it does and it leads us into the next thing i want us to explore which is that consumers today are caught in the world when of data, contradictory science reports coming up them, them trying to weed through all this information in this whirlwind of data that we all live in in terms of food science and food production and nutrition. tell us how you that a source and an expert on scientific matters. one of the criteria you are bringing to it to say i trust what they're saying and what they're doing enough that i'll put this in my report or in my article. >> there's a lot of different ways and you have to be really careful these days, but at reuters and prior to writers and now, you want to know who
they are what their background is what their education is in what their affiliations are professionally and follow the money. is there money? is there profit interest behind the messaging, behind the information they are hoping you will print and unless you check those boxes, it's a risky endeavor. >> and conflicts of interest can be broadly defined so sometimes it's receiving funding from a certain entity that you want to be aware of, but sometimes it's also they've written a book or their heavily invested in a certain point of view which sometimes makes him a good source but also maybe you have to be aware of those biases in the other things, i tried also seek out our systematic reviews so people will have an overview of the research in a
certain area, they know where the holes are and what's known and unknown and why and how it's known and i find them to be very good sources. >> basically, think to yourself who would disagree with this and try to find them and talk to them but ultimately, you are often not in a position to honestly evaluate it yourself. you have to rely on other people to look at it carefully. >> let's give these folks a chance to do a little bit of association with you. when you go into a little bit of a lightning round in a minister on a topic and want you to give us assistant answer and let's see if it resonates with folks. okay. where you get your news? >> npr. >> usually homepages of big
new news, going to the homepages of washington post, npr. >> that and for more specialized stuff, i use twitter as a personal wire service. >> favorite book in the world. >> generally have one but i do, one that does stick with me none on. >> avenue favorite book, house on fire. he's the man who helped eradicate smallpox and that's my new favorite book. >> my favorite is always the when i'm reading at the time and right now i'm reading
about an fbi hostage negotiator. >> last movie you saw in your? >> shape of water. >> death of stalin. >> can't remember. >> favorite indulgent food. >> made bread. >> neapolitan style pizza. >> pizza adage that you live by. >> truth is always the answer. >> can't go wrong with that. >> you don't have adages. >> i don't really either but i don't necessarily know that i live by this, but my father who passed away not too long ago, i once went back home and the farm was in the middle of a drought and everything was
shriveled up and he had laid out this piece of old plastic tubing and punch little holes in it and improvised a little drip irrigation system for about 20 feet down the middle of this enormous field. he said if he can do a lot to little. >> i have one, one step at a time. >> all right, as journalists, all of you are more accustomed to asking the questions then you are to answering the question. what question would you ask your other two panels. >> i want to know from dan, your coverage, i want to know if you've gotten, what can the feedback have you gotten from the industry? >> pretty much silence. do people know what it is? raise your hand if you do not.
>> we don't get into that. >> at the pesticide scandal and it produced a lot of crop damage this past year. >> i guess my bigger question, i thought that would be one of the examples, my bigger question the both of you would be what type of feedback have you gotten or what is sort of the feedback that you generally get when you do an article that is contrary to the big corporate interests. >> for me it's always the vaccines, anything about, was talking to your wife about this but groups that are denying vaccines or outbreaks, there is a big outbreak in minnesota this year because of a somali community that was preyed upon by vaccine denial let's and then you get people saying you're in the pocket of big pharma and, i find that
anytime you're on the side of vaccines that have saved millions of lives around the world and eradicated disease that you're a farmer show so that's one for me. >> so there's certain topics i get a lot of reaction and gm owes is one of them, but i get much more reaction from her audience which is much more hostile to gm owes. they feel like i am not adequately exposing the evil of gm owes, let's put it that way. so i get more that reaction from industry, if i do something they don't like, they either just a silent or sometimes i'll get sort of an e-mail saying we think you got
this wrong for x, y, and z reasons and sometimes i'll demand the correction and we have a discussion. >> dan, do you have a question you'd like to ask these two. >> i don't really. journalists are in a strange position where were sort of competitors and comrades so we get together it's more like do you like your job, do you like your editor? >> the food industry doesn't know anything about that. >> when was the last time an article or something that you were studying professionally changed your shopping, cooking, eating behavior? >> strawberries. >> tell me more about that. >> i spent a lot of time looking at usda and fda data on pesticide residues and food.
always looking for organic strawberries, which is not always easy to do, especially in kansas in march. >> droughts have done a knowledge of reporting on food poisoning and does anyone know, they are just like a number one, just never eat sprouts. never sprouts. >> i am going to be more positive. you know, periodically i will do some sort of expedition to some part of the food industry and, you know, some farm or some yogurt plant. honestly, a lot of the time i'm just sort of amazed and think
this is kind of cool. and so, and that beating the food a lot more. >> thank you for enjoying this. -- joining us. is the mac we live in a very skeptical age and institutions, media, science event. almost all climate scientists conclude that global warming is in the reality happening. yet only six and 10 americans believe that climate change is human caused and matt leaves for who do not believe that. as journalists, you're reportedly committed to fax, yet fax don't always tell the truth appears to be a subject of commodity these days. in the food world in science still the best avenue to truth in your eyes? >> no alternative. >> we have to define science
that i think we have to understand science. it is wielded as a weapon by both sides of a debate over the safety of a particular food or technology or chemical with each side claiming they have science on their side. right now, the agrochemical industry, anyone who is critical of their particular pesticide or that they are seeking greater use of, if anyone pushes back, they will say you are anti-science and you are seeing the same thing with genetic engineering and different expansion of different technologies. if anyone raises the question, they will say you are anti-science. what does this mean i should mark meeting on capitol hill at different lawmakers recently trying to understand their viewpoints and what they think and there is very diverse there as well. sheldon whitehouse ipad had a great idea and he's been
speaking out about this. he is proposing a different sort of scientific organizations and scientists from different universities sort of try to come together in a unified voice for protecting the integrity of science because what he understands and what i've learned through my work and through freedom of information is that science is often bought and paid for and it may sound like a conspiracy theory. i didn't think about that over my years at reuters, but over the last five years, the evidence has become pretty powerful, but there's a lot of money controlling the narrative some of our policy particularly with the cdc and sugar and obesity. there's a wealth of information that are high-powered food industry players have a pretty tight hand on internal cdc issues when it comes to that. you are seeing right now with
our nafta trade issues, you are seeing food industry elements pushing to keep front of package labeling away from consumers they would warn consumers about products that could be contributing to obesity or diabetes. i'm off on a tangent. i should probably settle down, but when it comes to science is something that needs to be to and we have to rely upon to help protective policies, but we need to understand what that means. >> if i push a little bit on the of food industry is often the one that's helping to fund not only because what we hope turns out, but because we want to know the truth as well. there is the juxtaposition of science has to be funded as well. how does science get funded if
it's not your private industry? >> is a huge challenge because we don't put forward our government and the resources. we don't have the resources to fund the research that needs to be done. >> there's two different things in your question. one as people not believing that science doesn't necessarily mean -- the science can be a path to truth than they might not be except the bowl to people. there's an enormous amount of communications and research and theory that sort of points to the reality of people's beliefs and attitudes shaped by what you might call sort of identity, you know, and what communities they are part of. i'm particular context and fortunately views are shaped by
identity and not by any information through the filters of information are so effective that you believe what you want to believe. but then there's the question, is science working the way it's supposed to, which is what kerry is talking about. i think it is both. science is like a social political economic product. it is produced by the structures of society and the way we have been and so it reflects those power structures. at the same time, science has that ambition and it's an honorable ambition to be self-critical and actually rely on the data. you can't just throw it out and say it's bad or it only reflectscoming in no come sort of the money interests behind
it. again, it is all we've got. >> it's a human system and we need to create safeguards. as you pointed out, we haven't protected in many cases and so there's an awareness about -- not as much awareness about some of these issues although that is changing a little bit with discussions like the replication crisis or discussions about conflict of interest, especially nutrition and food research. but yeah, i really believe it is the only path we have to evaluate and truth and getting that truth. >> what are the hot issues for you in food policy and onions? give us a little preview of what you are working on that is exciting year?
>> so, a lot of things that i am very interested in have to do at the environmental impact of food production. you know, this is my own hobby horse. i feel like it's underappreciated and undercover and all that stuff. it's really basic stuff like land use and drainage and crop rotations and all of that. so like the immediate story that i'm just waiting for it to get on the air is basically about loyal health. so, we will see. but i think this kind of thing is actually really important. and then there's a long list of other things. >> a lot of the big projects we have coming up this year are
really food related, but i've done a lot of reporting on obesity, which i guess that is food related and we will definitely keep following this in different ways and hoping to do more reporting on the things that shape people's food habit and ideas about what they are eating and the choices they make. yeah, so this food nutrition, diet related disease. >> soil health is a big deal. it really is. i agree with you, it is not at all, is it? i've been tracking and working with a group of farmers for the last several months who i just think it's so interesting they are again working towards for environmental sustainability and addressing the needs of an increasing number of food companies looking to source not
pesticide free, but more sustainable options. they haven't figured out out what they want to call it yet. some of these farmers are working with usda money. there were grants made available and they are doing interesting things like how you combat weeds and combat pass by planting different rotations of different crops and buckwheat and sunflower and things like that to achieve things that conventional farmers achieved with chemicals, that they achieve with these other sorts of planting of crops. it's really interesting. i don't know what's going to come of it, but they've got a little usda money. >> who here has an idea for an article you want them to tackle. we don't have a microphone, so shouted out. go, quickly.
[inaudible] -- journalism and not risen in food policy and in food science, especially when it can be interpreted, what is that line? >> since i switched to u.s. right to know, i get asked that question all the time. [inaudible] >> thank you. my answer to that is i am an activist or advocate for the sharing of facts, whatever those are. i am not somebody who is going to go out and say you need to ban this chemical really by organic rich emo's are bad. because i don't never think the world is really as black-and-white as that. i think there's usually a lot of great and usually your own particular situation of perspective.
the diocese for the truth. my advocacy is for information being given to consumers. but you know, i don't know if that answer pleases people, but that's all i've got. the >> i think, sort of, you know i believe in goals come of it i don't necessarily believe in particular ways to get there. you know, so i guess i am an activist for environmental health and human welfare and truth. but i am a skeptic about any particular person's program for achieving that. does that make sense? because i feel like i have to be because there's obviously a lot of disagreement. [inaudible] >> i kind of feel the same. we have certain things that i think people have a right to
know and shouldn't eat duped about claims that are made about health product for medicines or food, but i don't really have a particular agenda. >> walter cronkite, i know i'm dating myself there, one said i worry we are not getting enough of the news that we need to make informed judgments as citizens. do you agree share his concern regarding food facts, food science can regarding food reporting? are we not getting enough information out or is the issue we've got too much information out there? >> who is we? >> we as the general public. >> when i hear that question i think foia immediately. i am a foia honda and it makes
me crazy when i get freedom of information act request back from the food and drug administration in ed pages are completely blacked out. i'm sorry, we pay their salaries. they are supposed to work for us. the testing in the data and discussions and it's going on within federal agencies about our food seems to be information that we have a right to know. if you follow this freedom of information act over 50 years old now, congress is taking a look at that and looked at our agencies respond to that and found they routinely violate the law in over in an oig investigation. it's not my personal opinion that our agencies violate the law. it is congressional -- yes, dear the question? [inaudible]
can we get the ground microphone? >> you shouldn't have to turn it on. i think they are controlling it back there. , appeared. come right here. ladies and gentlemen, i present to you. >> taylor walton -- [inaudible] i also do a little bit of consulting. a comment as an academic that has been subject to several foia requests in the last couple of years. the problem is i think that as academics, as industry, i think there is this tidbit miss. like the three of you aren't the problem on the panel. you all are the ones i love to
work with. you want to see my e-mails, see my data, have at it. the problem is when you get the reporter that will take an e-mail, for instance, one of the academics that saddam might graduate committee 10, 15 years ago now works for an industry that funds the political trial and curler of money writing. the thing is as you do a clinical trial and you know, that person comes to town, without affecting your relationship. let's go to happy hour, let's do this and all of a sudden i pasted the e-mail gets pulled out in the industry is buying you dinner or kind of tempting you, which isn't really the case because he went out to dinner and split the bill anyway. it's just friends catching up. it's a small industry. i probably know two thirds of the people in this room. i think from the industry and
academics, where are the checks and balances on the journalism side if you want to take something out of context because it's not the three of you while. it is the others that want to get the story on the front page of the times than they do that kind of by taking things out of context and using the freedom of information act. that is our issue. >> what i would say to that because i know we are running out of time, real quickly, and get "the new york times" is probably not going to do a front-page story about you or someone else going out to dinner with someone else. they would have to be a lot more going on in the e-mails to warrant a story in my opinion. now may be -- maybe not, but in terms of new york times, in terms of your legitimate news outlets, there's going to be more than just two buddies going to dinner. my main concern, what i was speaking of is my agency, usda and fda and less about who they are having dinner with her lunch. we don't care about that.
what they care about what i'm looking at these documents in reductions of the testing our government is doing on our food supply related to safety, related to other issues, the red hat did stuff he's talking about that tony from food and water watch was talking about. all of this relates to food safety, related to our health, the health of our environment. we all eat so we are all affect it. when our federal government is choosing to redacted hide information on how they are regulated not, and that to me is troubling. >> i want to say number one, thank you for letting someone with a sweet tooth play in this candy shop. i will ask you to join me in thanking dan and juliet in cary for sharing their insights. [applause] >> thank you, david as well.
great pay and all. thank you all. we've got a break coming up after the panel. but now i would like to welcome to this stage the next panel moderator, speakers for a next panel. next panel moderator i think many of you are familiar with her work. she reported the "washington post" and in just the last month, she's written about canada's supply management program, the shipping consumer opinion against coconut oil, the bankruptcy of winn-dixie really got me wistful, that one. and a lot more just in the last month. if you care about a food policy issue she's written recently, check out her work at the "washington post." getting ready. caitlyn do we -- caitlin dewey is our next moderator.
been there on the spot. [inaudible] >> okay. come on up. >> all right, hello everyone. thank you or do much for being here with us on this lovely wednesday morning. my name is caitlin. reporter at the "washington post" and i am honored to be on stage today with three very distinguished panelists. we have cathie woteki mccurley professor at iowa state university, and state university, and you may better nor is the undersecretary for research education in economics. beside her we have eric hentges -- did i say it right? i didn't have a lot of time to
practice their good executive director of the international lifetime institute and a former life he was also the former executive director of usda center for nutrition policy and promotion. and we have michael taylor, senior fellow at the readiness to do, all also at the fda. so very distinguished panel. quick programming note. this is a 15 minute spot i think we have. we will talk amongst ourselves for about 30 minutes and i'm hoping to take 20 minutes of questions. realizing i didn't bring my phone appear, but if you have any pressing questions were panelists, we will take questions towards the end. without further ado, i thought we would jump into it here. the title of our panel today is the science of evidence-based policy. i think when a lot of people in the public eerie terms like science-based policy, they think we are talking about an unimpeachable incontrovertible standard of evidence.
but i gather from my conversations from the three of you over the last few days that this is not necessarily the case, that there is in fact a great deal of uncertainty in the science that informs our policy, especially when it comes to issues such as obesity, diabetes, chronic diseases and things like that. so the first question i wanted to put to you is sort of when you are inking about policy, what degree of certainty is necessary and how do you deal with those areas where it may be the science isn't as rocksolid as public as various stakeholders might want it to be. [inaudible] >> you can shout if you want, but you might be voiceless by the end. >> well, caitlin, i think it has gotten harder in recent years to make the kind of evidence-based policies that we want to when we are addressing chronic disease
risk. and that actually came up in the panel before a to a certain extent as well. if you look historically at the area that i am most familiar with, which is the nutrition food policy interface, the kind of evidence when you have a sinful nature and that caused a specific disease and you get to implement the public health policies food fortification, i had to station of salt, that was rather straightforward. but now we are dealing with chronic diseases that have multiple risk factors of which a single nutrient might be one where there might be multiple substances in food better interact team with a genetic predisposition. such a calm to a very simple what is the evidence that you need to implement the specific policy is much harder to do.
on the food safety side, mike has some really relevant experience where, you know come with his declaration of a 15787 was also a single organism specific disease and a clear-cut health policy. public health policy. it is more difficult in this day and age but multifactorial diseases we are trying to address. >> i would say along those lines that one of the things in the last panel was systematic evidence-based reviews. the usda introduced the quality of information act, which required this type of evidence to go forward with policy. and i think that is made a lot of difference that systematic evidence-based reviews. i think for a long time he would say those words. people would hear them come out of your mouth and not understand
what it all you were talking about. haven't we always used evidence? but this is an improvement. but there is always an old ibm. figures don't lie, but liars can figure. you can manipulate most any other thing. so that is unfortunate. i think one of the best tools we have right now the systematic evidence-based review to cut through some of the questions you have. >> so, the person on the science panel is training in science and law. i feel particularly empowered to sort of early focus on the role that science plays come at a crucial role that the limited role science plays in public health decision-making. and to really answer your question, to say there is no abstract standard of science that says this is the right degree of uncertainty, the right
volume and type of data needed to make a certain decision depends on the decision that is being made because science while again looking at the fda lands is an absolutely essential foundation for everything fda does. fda also operates within a certain statutory framework. there were certain public health problems that any public health solution. the question is how the science inform them in furthering of what the law empowers fda to do and what the policy is. i think to just illustrate the point here is what fda did in the attrition facts panel to added sugar to the label. you know, there was a lot of pushback. we didn't have enough science. fda should wait for more research. on this particular issue and for obesity, the chronic disease
obesity, diabetes and so forth, fda is not the greater science everybody knows. it's a science taker, particularly the dietary guideline process can translate that to make public health policy decisions. in the case of sugar labeling, the question was should we simply let consumers know the amount of added sugar in products in response to a dietary guideline recommendation that consumers reduce their calories from added sugar. i feel more free to say now than i did then, this is a no-brainer from fda standpoint. you know, we have the authoritative bodies that we need to reduce added sugar. the question was, do we have enough evidence to justify and certainly what we had with respect to the contribution of added sugar to obesity in at least some parts of the population, the nature density
issues. we had plenty of science to require that declaration, even though we don't have all the science that fully understands the contribution to chronic disease more broadly. no reason to wait for that science in order for simply consumers. >> i get it industry wasn't super receptive. >> some more and some weren't. it seemed to depend whether consumers had no added sugar content and we were very grateful the company stepped forward and said yes this is something consumer should have. companies thought differently. ..
that is a key concept to your original question of how do you deal with uncertainty. that concept has also kind of been adopted by other agencies that are making policy decision decisions, food and nutrition service about its program, i think erica alluded to evidence-based reviews as the basis for dietary guidelines development so there is this other concept, but, as we are saying, is not really a straightforward in answer to your original question. >> there really isn't. >> so i think the example of the added sugar labeling is really fascinating and i was wondering if eric and kathy,
if you would mind giving us each an example from your time during policy work have another decision that was sort of made on the basis of science that was maybe, there's a degree of uncertainty there and how you came to that decision and how you dealt with by uncertainty in the process. >> in my past life at the usda, we were the first ones to ask to move toward a systematic review. we did not have the nutrition library so we were shadowing a systematic light on that one. in some cases, what happened is that the evidence wasn't strong but then you send defaulted to something like many modeling so you want to make me want to reach all the nutrient requirements, you want to make the food groups in there so you model it and out of that modeling, it was
one of your household budget, there wasn't any calories left for discretio discretion. that you could use freely so you wound up with 10% of calories from saturated fats and sugars and oils and so in that case, you needed to make a decision, you needed to bring something forward and the modeling took care of it because you did all of the science to get to the requirements and then you dealt with what was left. i think there are other approaches to that. it is informed with the best evidence is available. >> i think the best example comes from the mid- 1990s. i was appointed undersecretary
for food safety in 1997, and around that time a group of microbiologists had been pioneering the use of risk assessment for pathogens in the food supply so kind of taking this concept of quantitative risk assessment that had evolved in epa and applying it for a living organism in the food supply so we, the first of the complete farm to table quantitative grow biological risk assessments was looking at salmonella intake and we really embraced that approach, brought it in as a basis for
understanding where in that farm to table system would be the best places to implement interventions that would decrease the risk of salmonella in the consuming population. it was taking a whole new approach in the scientific community and then using it as the basis for risk assessment and risk based policy development. >> it sounds like that was a pretty smooth process, adopting that technique. >> no. >> you described it so lovingly. >> from the risk assessment communities perspective, it was a new idea. there were lots of difficulties in pulling
together the data set. just from a technical perspective, there was lots of hurdles along the way. from the industry perspective it was a new concept. especially with the thinking farm to table so all of that caused a lot of consternation but at the same time it has now become part of this standard operating procedures to do that type of quantitative risk assessment. >> michael, could you switch gears and tell us a little bit about sodium reduction. i gather that is an example that also fits into this discussion. >> i think there are several good examples of that, sodium is one where fda, as folks know have been working on voluntary targets for sodium reduction and they do a lot of
technical homework about how that can be done in a gradual way and it respects the role of sodium from safety in food processing. i would say the scientific issue had to do with what's the end goal and what kind of science was needed before moving down the pathway toward reducing sodium intake from the current 3500 milligrams to the 2300 milligrams guideline that are called for. there was issues raised about was the science adequately understood to move to 2300, there was a little bit of a argument that the fda wanted to move to 1500 which was never the idea by fda proposal was to begin to go down the pathway with interim targets, it would move down maybe 2500 and long-term tenure targets down to about 3000 on
longer-term targets at the 2300 targets and there were those that felt the for fda, i k quality. [inaudible] think the question is, do you need the ultimate answer on something like sodium reduction which is admittedly a long-term problem to solve. you need a ten year timeframe. you need to have all the science that has you understand not only what the ultimate end goal is but how you get there in order to begin moving down the pathway. i think my perspective is certainly the science is more than robust enough given what guidelines committee says to
begin making gradual reductions where they can be made now toward an interim goal and then deferring, do whatever science is needed, do whatever dialogue is needed to get a reasonable degree of alignment on the science around the ultimate goal, but let's start moving down the pathway on what every one agrees is a significant public health issue given our current intake productions everybody because some people claim that what were doing now is perfectly appropriate for a public health standpoint. that's just not effective. there's another question here, these debates off often happen around consensus recommendation and then there's dissenting views that if you're going to do public health policy if you're fda, you have to take the science that has come through a consensus process or the established process that we have in our country for lining up the science of disease issues related to diet.
you have to rely on those processes and then fda makes the decisions within the framework that uses that science to move toward a public health outcome. >> in essence, the napkin scientific agreement. >> that's one way to put it. there are other examples as time permits. >> we've got all the time in the world. how can we strengthen science based policy at the federal level? you discussed some of the changes that have been made over the past ten or 15 years, what would you like to see happen in the future? >> was there about 2010, the obama administration required every agency to review their scientific integrity program. the feedback that i have heard from agencies that have looked at it, i think that was quite a success. i think many of the agencies involved in research laid out those plans, they looked at it
in the different way and i think that was quite an advance. so i think that looking at that to start with, i think there are issues, the national academy of sciences without their report on fostering integrity and it was sort of disappointing. it was disappointing and that our problems with retraction, our problems with reproducibility are not good for their not in a good state. so i think a lot of those aspects of integrity open science, open data, some of those moves toward that, pre-registrations of trials are moving us forward. somehow we got ourselves in the situation of researchers, academic, government that a report like that from the academy comes out last year so we do need to seriously look,
and the goal for any of us is scientific it excellence. it is designed 101 where how did we lose that and it's sort of a troubling thing. >> i have been, as many of you know, i spent about seven years at the national center for health statistics, i've had a continuing interest in the statistical agencies and in my last job at usda had oversight of the two statistical agencies in usda so i paid a lot of attention back in 2016 when congress passed legislation setting up a bipartisan commission on evidence-based policy commission. evidence-based policymaking and the commission came out with its report and
recommendations last fall. it was a surprise to my fellow panelists because they never knew this commission existed, much less that it had come out with its report and that legislation has been introduced in congress. i printed out a copy of the cover so you can all see there really is a report of this commission, but i think it's of the importance to the community that's interested in food policy because as we've moved from the kind of evidence that we been talking about policies into the round of research that's being done in food systems and the changes we need to have made
to promote healthy systems for long-term sustainability and healthy people living in those food systems, a lot of the recommendations in this report are important to us. it is focusing, it's very important to protect the privacy of individuals and the responses that they're providing two statistical agencies as well as their personal identifier that's large scale program data that are now under our open data policies being made publicly available. there's a whole set of recommendations to deal with privacy, the report is recommending setting up a national secure data service so that access to these types of files can be more broadly
available to the research community and academic settings and at the same time, with a lot of privacy protection being built in, each of the federal departments should have a chief evaluation officer whose responsibility is to make sure that evidence-based practices are being adopted by different problematic agencies within the federal government. the implementation of these recommendations is going to be really important and and fortin step forward. although they were focusing on the statistical agencies, i think it has big implications for data as well. >> i would say statisticians need to be hired more. i think the point that the
problem with our lack of reproducibility is our statistical designs and the rigor that we have. i think biostatistician should be on most review panels. i think that would help improve, how do we get there, i think most grad students believe the computer says it all as opposed to actually understanding what the computer is doing when you put your data in. >> and i think there should be more lawyers. [laughter] to me there are three elements to strong science -based, one is just the quantity and quality that you have. i think one is the
fragmentation of research where you are really mobilizing the research resources to do the most strategic investment. whatever it is that gives the data to support strong decision-making. you have to have a political commitment to science based policy. that can't always be taken for granted. without that the people doing the policymaking can't do it and you need the institutions, it's having expertise and research capacity supporting them to be totally up to speed. i think there's room for
constant attention and sometimes improvement in that area. >> you getting assigned there from your leader. you might want to take a look at that. >> to the say how much time is left? >> i'm sorry, you tried to best. i think that is my sign to move to questions, literally and figuratively. if anyone has a question, we have a microphone coming around, there's a gentleman right here. [inaudible]
series of meetings around this question of public trust in science. initially, it was quite surprised when you start looking at the limited amount of polling information that we have, but still, that public support for science, public belief in the credibility of sciences has remained high, pretty much across the board. sciences are among the more trusted professions in the united states so there has not been, according to these polls a huge erosion in public confidence and science. there are particular topics
that were mentioned on the panel before that seem to be hot button issues. one of them is genetic engineering and its companion organic foods, another is climate change and a third is vaccines about which there seem to be a lot more concerned. i question the premise of your question to begin with. it seems like public trust is your main pie with certain exceptions. >> i think that the environment around public food policy and decision-making has always been messy and contentious. it's all ramped up now because of social media, but it's not totally new.
i think from the standpoint of agencies and thinking of it from a standpoint of regulatory. [inaudible] one-step hopes to have confidence and acceptance of decision, the two elements, one is having an institution where their goals are understood and who is trusted to be committed to the goals. in the case of fda's consumer protection and reducing risk associated with the food supply. that comes over time through behavior and to taking decisions and how it response to problems, but the other element is just the transparency of the process and that includes the vetting of the science and the policy in some sense, transparency and openness. i would like to have a chat with the person who is concerned about fda redacting too much information. i'm sure that's true. from the vantage point of
those who want to be consumers of that information and maybe even policy people would like aftefda to be more transparent there's legal issues around that and some of which are governed by the information act and others is provision of the food and drug act to create criminal liability for employees if they even accidentally released trade secret information. there's enormous difficulty and the lawyers have a lot to say about the imperfect system but transparency is something that is a huge contributor to trust. without it there can't possibly be trust. credit such as transparency that makes people feel good, it's getting the information in the input and making better decisions. >> you brought it up earlier when you said about
uncertainty. many of the subjects we deal with in the science rom have a level of uncertainty. that's just the way it is. most of it is probably not ready for prime time. i think when we reported, we are not laying out that there is uncertainty and it sounds like an absolute, however when you get into the realm of public policy, you can't just wait for perfect. you have to deal with the best available evidence. >> i think we have another question in the back. >> hello. i'm from sweet animal
concerns. one of the questions, i know we've the insta rounded but when you talk about your most to me can't ignore the effort.monsanto made to challenge some of the silen science by people who are requesting it. it makes it harder to have public trust around the issue when you have real conflict of interest by someone is making a lot of money come selling things and generating science at the same time. i just use that as a single example. i really think, also if you look at the clinical trial problem, a lot of that comes through people basically having a bias in terms of research.
there are challenges with systematic reviews, quantitative risk assessment, et cetera but i think in overlying problem that i don't think you have all addressed very well is the concept of conflict of interest we have people who have financial interest. like you all to address that a little bit. >> i think both mike and i want to weigh in on that. i would like him to talk about, for a regulatory. [inaudible] what are the requirements when you are using industry data? you're essentially relying on the regulated industry to provide scientific studies to inform your decision-making as a regulator, when you were a regulator. >> i have my assignment. it's a very important
question. in the diet and health area, what we're talking about before, the body of information comes from multiple sources, it's not principal industry data, it's a different ballpark and i think again if you have a good process, i have confidence in what comes out of that in terms of. [inaudible] in the product approval area it's almost entirely reliant and that's why there's all these protocols set up in all these standards that the agencies have established for the kind of agencies that need to be conducted.
that's a system that exists. the conundrum because if you establish a framework, which i'm glad we've done, it creates the burden on the sponsor to prove safety then the company should be responsible for generating the data to prove safety. no one else's point to do it. you have those innovations. the question is does the standards of testing in the review that they're able to do does that result in rigorous science -based observations. i by march think that the market entry is done pretty rigorously. i think the more difficult question is when issues arrive, post market, are the agencies funded.
i think that's really the issue. once you're in the market for pre-market chemical, you're going through a rigorous process. i think mark data needs to come pre-market on substance substitutes is. >> if you look at what the federal government and state government support of research in the food area is, food, natural resources, human nutrition, that's funded through usda, it all adds up to about $2 billion. year.
research, and there would very little innovation that would be coming into this who coming into the third ann arbor culture sector. >> do you believe as michael does that the guidelines around that are rigorous enough? >> yes, very much so. you know, from the company's perspectives, but the agencies are doing is holding him responsible for the safety of their products. they are holding them responsible for the truth of what they say in their labels. and so, you know, from my perspective i think it is appropriate the companies are sponsoring research with all the consolidation that's occurred in the food industry over the last several decades. one of the consequences of that has been the decrease in the actual research facilities that food companies have these days. so they are increasingly looking
to university raised scientist to do specific studies for them. so, yeah. i do think the control that the regulatory agencies have been placed are appropriate. i do think that kind of scientific integrity standards that eric mentioned as well are enormous important for the scientific community as well as in general as well as for the agencies that are funding the research to make sure they put in place in the combination those two things are going to interact and are both positive. >> great. we have anymore questions? in the back over here. >> hi, lisa lepper is from public interest.
i want to follow up on something mike was just saying about what happens. we can argue about how good a safety determination as before something comes to market, but after it's in the marketplace and science continues to evolve and evidence continues to accumulate, somehow the safety standard command of reasonable safety of harm doesn't seem to get applied anymore. it's as if the agency feels that it needs to prove that there is a problem before taking action and it can take so many years. i just wondered if you could comment on that problem and what you think is needed. >> i'm trying to think of some slick comment i can make to avoid having to answer your question. [laughter] honestly, i don't want this to
be perceived as talking about fda and how it doesn't work as i'm not there anymore and i've said too much. i will say this. the post-market issue is a genuine issue in people in the industry understand and part of the problem is that sba, the office of student safety is not funded and staffed to meaningfully do post-market oversight. there is not a source of data that can systematically surface issues in a timely way. there's some real gaps in post-market oversight of chemicals and food without question. the question you are raising upwards the ftc's information, is it too conservative in assessing the safety of other product on the market, chemical on the market meets the safety standard nerd i will let somebody else have that conversation.
the people at nonoffice care deeply about what they are doing and it's a conscientious, serious job and there's always room for debate there. there are some legal thresholds and burdens going forward at evidence so you have to have sufficient evidence to raise a significant safety question. that is the issue often scientifically is there enough about evidence and i can again be in the eye of beholder. i'm never going to have complete unanimity about those issues for sure. >> great. we might have time for one more question. right there. >> hi, my name is kim testa appeared at a question, not sure for the best people to ask about the lead water in -- but in the water for schools. what would be appropriate level you would recommend in the water that her children are drinking
in schools. >> i would rely on the epa standards. >> yeah, this is an epa question. from a public health standpoint we all want less lead is always better because of the vulnerability of kids. i can tell you what to lead number is that epa and i can't be the basis for it. very important, fair question. i think you just have the wrong suspects here on stage. [inaudible] i don't know the answer at all, but my understanding, my belief is that if the community's responsibility come in the municipality has a responsibility. in the town that i was then most recently, we got a report from
that city. this is what is in your water. >> food policy when i learned and began on the speed is that it is splintered across the vast government bureaucracy that many agencies come as you might have to speak to someone at epa about that it sounds like. on that note, we are going to wrap up the session. i hope you'll join me in thanking our wonderful panelists. [applause] i think there is a quick break now and sessions will start a few minutes after that. thank you. >> that was from earlier today. we'll resume our live coverage of the 41st annual food policy conference from the consumer federation of america in just a few minutes. former agriculture secretary dan glickman will address the gathering and started about seven or eight minutes at about
1:15. until then, this morning's keynote address from the deputy undersecretary of agriculture for food safety, carmen rotenberg. [applause] >> thank you to all of you for having me here today. secretary perdue really wanted to be here today and unfortunately other travel he had prevented him from doing so. but i really just thrilled that you all had me. you know, i have three children who are constantly eating me out of house and home and obviously i'm in charge of ensuring the safety of egg products in the regulatory agency had transpired that is jurisdiction over that process. i tell people providing food, producing two and ensuring the safety of thirtysomething at ink about all the time.
food policy community has a small one, domestically and internationally. this is a really exciting time to be here with all of you today. i want to talk to a little bit about what i see as intersections and crossroads in terms of how we look at the work we do in the food policy space and i am hoping that you think about that as you move through the next couple of days. in this room, thomas already talked about many of the individuals that are here. we have academics, industry food producers, food manufacturers, retailers, and crude indicators, doctors, veterinarians, regulators, commissioned corps officer. i saw a commissioned corps officer. where are you? thank you for the work you do. the commissioned corps officer of food safety inspection service in fda and health and human services dod. i'm sure we have a host of other
people here also will all play different roles in what we refer to as the food continuum. but our paths intersect. sometimes we are aware would not have been in sometimes we are not. a conference like this, we are very aware of the intersection that we have coming together as food policy advocates. i'm struck as i look at the sponsors here that are really finding this conference over the next couple of days. the national food policy conference hosted by the consumer federation of america, the funded by food industry. many of the list of sponsors are in the food industry, regulated food industry. the press release tsa passes for decades the national food policy conference has been a washington institution and a unique collaboration between consumer advocates, the food industry and
government. the conference is organized by the consumer federation of america as the highly anticipated national gathering for those interested in agriculture, food and nutrition policy. this is important. this purposeful intersection is important. media often pays consumers and industry as adversaries and they do so subtly and how they characterize consumer response to new initiatives that government is rolling out versus industry response. there is an important role for every group to play, but as regulators we stand at the intersection of where consumers and industry meet. we played a really unique role in that regulatory space. we are all partners and upper coulter in feeding the world and from a food safety perspective it's incumbent on industry to produce safe food and product. we had the safest food supply in
the world as a result of industry's commitment to do that. consumers expect safe food and other government regulators verify the food we eat is safe, we all play a role in the food safety space. it's not only in food safety. it is nutrition, food security, everything the department of agriculture does to feed and clothe the world. how do we differentiate where we come as an intersection versus what i refer to as crossroads? russert is the point at which you all play a really important role. the crossroad is an intersection of two roads, but crossroads, the connotation of crossroads that there is a decision point at which you'd need to decide which direction to go. it's not a negative connotation. it's just a decision point. as public servants, regulators, as public health partners and federal government as i said, our space is an interesting one, especially as it relates to
food. as regulators, we are also consumers and scientists and not reason lawyers and their frame is shaped by those life experiences and by her cultural experiences around food, especially when we think about handling and cooking practices. when we stand in the middle of the intersection, we see consumer demand for affordability, quality, increasing information in the global marketplace. dr. gottlieb will be talking about labeling when he speaks to you tomorrow. there is consumer demand for that. incredible consumer demand for that. we also see industry innovation, new technology come incredible innovation going on today. we of course take another health partners how to ensure that our policy is not the limiting factor for consumer choice or industry innovation for small plants and their success. our mission is always public health weird how we use data points in science to former
decisions when we come to those crossroads. the secretary often comments to american producers. the secretaries a couple things he said. number one is to write a feed everyone and not just commodities made for usda. the second is if you grow it will help you sell it. food safety is a critical underpinning of a global marketplace and that is not lost on us. so when we come to crossroads, which we do, this group, those focused on food policy in this room, you get to drive that appeared crossroads or opportunities and so i'm going to talk about regulatory reform in the connotation of crossroads as opportunities. i told thomas was going to tease him for his press release or he said i was going to be talking about controversial topics. i think it's less controversial than some would make out, but it
is an opportunity and a space in which you all have a really important role to play. and so, although it was mentioned as being controversial, hopefully i don't disappoint in that space. so i want to talk about regulatory reform and what we are doing at the department of agriculture ran regulatory reform. the secretary said at soon as he got to usda regulatory reform task force made up of early career employees in the department. in order to look at opportunities for reducing regulation on industry, yes that is part of the president's commitment is one of his campaign promises obviously. but we are looking at regulatory reform in terms of what is out dated that needs to be changed? what are the limiting factors that prevent consumers from
getting the food and information they want, printing industry from innovative technologies that lead to greater food safety. and so, we are embarking on this process of looking at the regulation in seeing what new regulations we need to update old regulations and what regulations they be sort of taken off the book. there is a task force set up here there is also an open comment. and everywhere i go, and i tell people to comment. many consumer advocacy groups that have commented. it was brought up in the federal register last summer and it's open for an entire year. the secretaries team is looking at the right reform ideas on a quarterly basis. when we talk about regulatory reform, there's a couple ways to food safety inspection service, which is the agency that a lead comic couple of ways we think
about regulatory reform. obvious in the context of the secretaries initiative, but also regulatory reform because that's what we've been doing since the late 90s as an agency as a two modernizer inspections system in part essays. i mentioned that there is tremendous innovation going on in the industry today. a great deal of technological advancements and opportunities to gain efficiencies and how we inspect while still maintaining the same degree of public health protection. the agency embarked on a system several years ago and we ended up publishing the final rule on that, really looking at having industries sorrow carcasses into the trimming and purposes and having our inspect areas continue to inspect every single carcass that comes by and it allows us additional flexibility to put our resources into other places in the establishment if they are operated positions that
are in those establishments and it allows industry to run at faster speeds as a result. there is an essay to all of those in the food continuum that we talk about in that space. we have proposed a rule. that comment. it's open until may 2nd and it is a similar kind of modernization initiative as we look at slaughter. we have imposed an egg modernization proposed rule. e.g. processing also wonder sfis jurisdiction and also looking at putting egg product inspection under the critical control point model as we do with meat and poultry. we have that modernization initiative going on. we are looking at performance
standards. we have a published performance standard that we promised to do and we are going to be publishing for chicken part in the coming months. we are looking to update a part of regulatory, not necessarily regulatory reform, the partners looking at what needs to be updated, eating beef performance standards for salmonella. looking out for the format standard, setting those. these are really important things as they look to have the market drive for consumers purchase. consumers want another product is safe, but they also want to have options and know more about their food than they have been a very long time. when you look at the pendulum swinging from the time when i was growing up in the winter, you ate canned food, canned vegetables and frozen vegetables. when i go to costco, my children required me to buy berries all
winter long. there's strawberries and raspberries in my house all winter long. that is an interesting shift in how well consumers expectations are for the food they purchase. by setting standards, it is an important step towards letting the marketplace drive what product is produced by the big retailers. we put up what the scorecard is an consumers and purchasers get to make determinations about what products they buy. this is important work the agency is doing. we were asked often about this modernization and we are looking to move outward in a similar way as we've done with poultry and swine. we do not have a pilot project for beef, beef can expect the coming months will be talking about what new technologies will go on a federal register notice looking for new technologies the beef industry has been interest
the beef industry has been modernizing as it relates to their technology in order that we can look to can look to how we modernized inspection. so that's about her modernization. i was hoping to have time for questions, so i'll try and wrap up here. we have as we move to modernization for science, we are looking at moving to genome sequencing across federal government. i didn't talk a lot about the roller federal government collaborators play in the space of innovation and intersection, but it is a really critical space to play with cdc and fda and food safety and those are just a few. there were 17 federal government agencies that deal with food safety. in looking at how we do trace back and how we can, with more certainty and outbreak investigation, identify the
product at the root of the outbreak. we can do that as we move towards the whole genome sequencing technology. so it improves the surveillance and regulated products because fda is also using it. it allows us to respond more quickly to illness outbreaks and trace back and ensure that we'll be able to use even as we look to do environmental sampling in the establishments. there's a tremendous amount of work going on in that space. and then i maybe should have started with this slide because according to the fundamental bargain last many of you. you see how the average attention and come to social media folks but this fight together for me. you see how our average attention span has decreased over time. consumers want information quickly and the federal government does not move quickly
enough for consumers today. part of that is because of limiting or is related to how quickly samples get analyzed and outbreak investigations. part of it is because we need to be more efficient with the utilization of our time in our resources in the federal government when we have issues of public health concerns and we need to do better at that. usda, the secretary has really charged us with even better, being more efficient, to be more responsive to customers and who are our customers as regulators, who are customers. you all are our customers and we look at it is how can we get information to consumers as quickly as possible. so we do a lot around our twitter account which has over 1.4 million followers and their messages get retreated many times. we have a spanish-language account and we have many very
successful social media campaigns in order to get consumer safety information. this is about safe food handling practices and recalls and all of the information around keeping you and your family safe during hurricanes and other sword of natural disasters. this really is our way to contact across the united states to families that might not otherwise have access to usda and usda services. i had a quick window, one of our very, very popular treats out there, many the force be with you. our social media really resonates with our users when we talk about collaboration and intersection in this idea when
you get to across or is there a decision points that need to be made, who is the face of god? federal government is a massive bureaucracy. who are the faces of our food safety. this is another way we can have our social media accounts really resonate with users that they see who we have at the front lines of food safety and what their backgrounds are. and so, i will just close by saying intersections are important, but crossroads can be pivotal. as we look at what direction we are going, we may not always agree, but we cannot ignore food production and demand in this country is changing. i hope as you attend the sessions on science and foodborne illness that you are thinking about how you drive that policy through your
comments in federal register notices coming to your pr campaigns, what campaigns, what are you doing as an individual imparted the organization you serve in order to advance your food policy. do you take the position you've always held? or do you open yourself up to different ideas you've been exposed to at these intersections? i will close with secretary perdue recently put out a new civil rights state policy statement did this may seem like a strange way to close, they just hang with me for a second. at the end of the civil rights statement, which he actually wrote, he sat at usda we know that food has the power to unite. i think that is a simple but very powerful statement and everyone in the room would agree with it. i want to thank you all for your hard work, dedication to advocacy in science and food
safety and/or the opportunity to be with you today. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you carmen. i am going to go around with a microphone. raise your hand, pleased if you'd like to ask a question with about 10 minutes of q&a. >> good morning, carmen. >> hi, tony. >> i think i am going to grandstand. i wanted to touch on the proposals on the new swine slaughter inspection system. >> can you hold the microphone closer to you? >> sure. in october we filed their request on a new plant in michigan. >> clemens.
>> clemens. they had applied for a line speed waiver and that is what keeps our interest in the plans. we received the information from the agency. in reading the training material that was used to train your inspect areas, it is obvious that what this plant is now doing is very similar to what you are proposing in the proposed rule. the plants received the line speed waiver approval in september of 2017. the plant actually implemented implemented -- [inaudible conversations]
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