Panel to discuss agriculture, food, election

David Vladeck

As the 2016 presidential race heats up, Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law is hosting the Vote Food 2016 conference to inform voters, farmers and legislators on food and agriculture’s role in the upcoming election.

The conference will be held at the Georgetown University Law Center at 600 New Jersey Ave., Washington, D.C.

David Vladeck, former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, will moderate the panel discussion, “What should the next President’s food agenda look like?”

The panel will be composed of Donna Shalala, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Daniel Glickman, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Margaret Hamburg, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Food issues are becoming increasingly important to American consumers, as seen by the way the industry is changing and how consumers respond,” Vladeck said. “Americans are more health conscious and interested in the origins of their food supply. This debate will tee up what’s going on here.”

He continued, saying a host of issues could come up with varying implications for farmers, retailers and everyone in between in the food business. Those issues include governmental oversight of food and agriculture, growing disjointedness of these overseeing bodies, usage and labeling of genetically modified organisms, and how and whether or not to continue agricultural subsidies.

The discussion will be timely, given the candidates’ recent focus on agriculture. While campaigning in California, Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders advocated for better working conditions for farmers. Likewise, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been garnering farmers’ votes as the “Farmers for Trump” movement gathers steam.

Following the panel discussion, Sonia Angell, deputy commissioner of the division of prevention and primary care for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will be delivering the keynote address.

Other discussions at the conference will include antibiotic resistance and its use in livestock, how congress should handle sugar production and its relationship to a national obesity problem, produce availability and equal access to produce.

Admission to the event will be open to the public. Standard registration costs $125, however reduced rates are available for representatives of non-profit groups ($85) and students ($55).

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com