I spend Friday mornings cleaning up my ‘to-do’ list and reorganizing the projects I didn’t finish over the past couple of weeks. Having been, as Leslie Knope from the show Parks & Recreation refers to it, “Jammin’ on my planner,” I realized this morning that I had not yet shared anything about my experience speaking to the Northeast New York Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials (NE-NY CASA).
NE-NY CASA is a conference for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made up of professionals who diligently assess and evaluate the procedures of food manufacturers and producers, restaurants, food trucks and corner stands, etc. to ensure that the food is safe to consume. These conferences work to seek out new information in regards to issues involving food and drugs (pharmaceuticals, self-care products, etc) that then drive the national standards of practice in regards to food and drug safety (labeling, manufacturing practices, etc.) for the national FDA
You can imagine how excited I was when they called to ask if I would come speak to their group about gluten-free food service at their regional meeting at the Department of Agriculture and Markets in Albany, NY. By now if you’ve read this blog, even once, you know that I am always more than happy to raise awareness about Celiac Disease (CD) and what it really means to be gluten-free (GF). Not only did I have a chance to educate and raise awareness about CD and GF for the individuals sitting in the room, but it was doubly a great day for GF, because I also had the opportunity to educate and advocate for truly safe labeling standards and the issues that the FDAs proposed label regulations still do not address - like cross-contamination during manufacturing!
This group was a very well-educated one in regards to food service and had wonderful questions; which (1) told me they were paying attention and were interested (phew!) and (2) were receptive to hearing about this ‘new’ information. Chalk one up to Celiac and Gluten-free awareness! Now, if we could only get some of these other regional CASA conference groups to understand why this issue should be on their radar we would really be making some great progress!
Instead of detailing the whole hour-long presentation (its the weekend…you’re welcome J) here it is not in a nutshell, but in a cloud! You will notice that the most often repeated words are the largest, so its pretty obvious to see the theme of the presentation.