The Whole Package: Tackling Risks From Chemicals in the Food Supply – Webinar
The Whole Package: Tackling Risks From Chemicals in the Food Supply May 21, 2013
Call Recording: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Each part aligns with the three speakers’ presentations.
Webinar Slides:Download (note, James O’Reily did not use a powerpoint presentation)
SPEAKERS: Sheela Sathyanarayana, MD MPH, Assistant Professor, University of Washington Department of Pediatrics; and Investigator, Seattle Children’s Research Institute; Dr. Sathyanarayana is the primary investigator and author of the University of Washington study that unexpected found the high level of packaging chemical in study participants. She is also the co-chair of EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee.
Leo Trasande, MD, Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Environmental Medicine and Health Policy at New York University; Leo has done a study looking at the link between BPA in food packaging and childhood obesity.
James T. O’Reilly, Professor, University of Cincinnati College of Law; Mr. O’Reilly is an expert in FDA law, authoring more than 45 books and articles.
Cosponsored by the Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders and The Sustainability Funders.
Moves to get toxic chemicals out of our food supply usually focus on the problem of pesticide usage on farms and antibiotics in animals, while overlooking what’s happening between the farm and table. Consumers are exposed to other chemicals in food on a daily basis, often without a full understanding about what they are eating.The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulatory program overseeeing the safety of these chemicals in food allows an estimated 10,000 additives, ranging from baking powder and vinegar to more controversial compounds like nanoengineered materials, genetically-modified products and bisphenol A (BPA). More than 5,000 additives are not required to be listed on labels (such as flavors and packaging materials), leaving consumers in the dark when choosing what they eat. Under the law most chemicals added to food or used in packaging are supposed to be approved by FDA, but a legal loop hole for “generally recognized as safe” substances has enabled manufacturers to self-approve an estimated 1,000 additives without notifying the agency.
Organic food is not immune to chemical additives, and producers may not be aware of processing and packaging chemicals that can hitch a ride when they come into contact with food from farm to fork.
Please join us for a funders-only webinar to further discuss this issue and collaboration opportunities. Participants will hear from a University of Washington researcher and pediatrician who found high levels of a plastic packaging chemical called phthalates in the bodies of study participants who ate a controlled organic diet. We will also discuss legal requirements for chemicals used in food production and review how and when chemicals are included on food labels. Participants will learn why chemicals in food present potential risks to humans, why they are used in food, what’s being done about the issue and by whom, and what opportunities are available to funders to help solve these problems.
Erik Olson, Director, Food Programs, The Pew Charitable Trusts