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Responsible Pork Symposium Opens Dialogue on Pork Chain Responsibility

More than 150 pork chain professionals attended the first annual Responsible Pork Symposium, held Feb. 5-7, at the Omni Severin Hotel in Indianapolis, Ind. Attendees included representatives from all segments of the pork food chain including consumers, university leaders, retailers, nutritionists, veterinarians, producers, packers, activists, government officials and general industry consultants.

Pork magazine, in partnership with the Center for Food Integrity, Michigan State University and Purdue University, hosted industry stakeholders for five panel-based discussions that focused on the pork food-chain's responsibilities in the following categories:

? Food Safety ? Animal Well-being ? Human Capital ? Environment ? Consumer choices Panelists discussed threats and challenges that confront the U.S. pork food chain today and in the future. "Some of the discussions became very lively and controversial topics were debated" says Cliff Becker, vice president/publishing director for Pork magazine's parent group, the food360° division of Vance Publishing. "This is exactly the type of exchange we had hoped would transpire, and we believe these dialogues need to continue."

Keynote speaker Jennifer Garrett, director of nutrition marketing for Kellogg's, set the stage. "Responsibility and accountability are key issues that lead to business success. Kellogg's does everything it can to maintain a responsible image," Garrett told the pork chain leaders.

Garrett emphasized continuously changing consumer trends and demands, and how the pace of change is much faster today. "We need to be responsible to not just to our customers, but to everyone," she said. "If you take into account other peoples' point of view when discussing responsibility, it opens up the dialog and pushes you toward results." She continued: "I encourage you to stay grounded in science and be able to interpret that science so the consumer can relate to the benefit."

"Every participant along the pork food chain has a responsibility to produce safe, high-quality products for the consumer," says Marlys Miller, editor, Pork magazine. "It's important that we continue the dialogue and build bridges within the chain so that everyone continues to succeed in that goal. The Responsible Pork Symposium is one more step down that path."

Other industry leaders added insights to the event including Dallas Hockman, vice president of industry relations for the National Pork Producers Council; Janice Swanson, director animal well-being, Michigan State University; Kellye Pfalzgraf, office of animal well-being for Tyson Foods; Paul Shapiro, senior director of the factory farming campaign for the Humane Society of the United States; Steve Kopperud, senior vice president, Policy Directions, Inc.; Tres Bailey, senior manager, Federal Government Relations for Wal-Mart Stores; and Julie Maschhoff, director of public relations and co-owner of The Maschhoff's, Inc.

Sponsors of the Responsible Pork event included Alpharma Animal Health Company, DSM Nutritional Products, the National Pork Board, PIC, Hubbard Feeds, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health, and the National Pork Producers Council.

Pork magazine plans to continue the dialogue by featuring interactive discussions between stakeholders in several communication vehicles going forward. Sponsors will be invited to add content to a web site and quarterly newsletters.

For complete information on the Responsible Pork Symposium, to sign up to be a continued part of the dialogue and solution's, and for a complete list of participating organizations, visit http://www.ResponsiblePork.com .

Source: Jo Ellen Enns, Pork Magazine