Friday, February 17, 2017

“Food and Fear: How to Find Facts in Today’s Culture of Alarmism”

What a great title! That was the title of a great conversation held last night in the Clark-Fox Forum here on the Wash U campus. The conversation lasted not quite two hours and it covered topics ranging from food, farming, technology, hunger, where do we go next and many other issues.

The panel who offered their expertise before opening the conversation to the audience included - Dr Liza Dunn, @DrLizaMD, an Emergency Medicine Physician, Medical Toxicologist and Medical Outreach Lead for Monsanto; Lora Iannotti, PhD, Associate professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work; Joni Kamiya, @hifarmersdtr, an occupational therapist and farmer blogger; Steve Savage, PhD,@grapedoc, a plant pathologist and consultant in the areas of plant genetics and sustainability and Amanda Zaluckyj ESQ, @farmsdaughterusa, a practicing attorney and agriculture blogger.

The presentations and the conversation demonstrated how confused most consumers are when it comes to how their food gets to their table; how anxious people are about what is “right” to eat, and how this fear and confusion is impacting what people eat – sometimes to the point of triggering poor nutritional intake.

An almost two hour conversation can’t be easily condensed but some key outcomes.
1.      This conversation is just starting
2.      Education on how to separate “fake news” – in terms of food – from the science of food is desperately needed
3.      Understanding the issue of food and nutrition to help prevent malnutrition is a growing priority – 48 million people are undernourished
4.      Nourishment is more than just calories, it is about the nutrients

My take-away – it’s time for all involved with food to step back and then sit down and talk the science of food and how we help share that science, in a usable manner, with consumers. Where will you be in that next step?

Connie Diekman, MEd., RD, CSSD, LD, FADA, FAND

Nutrition Communication Consultant 

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