MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is hosting their regional food safety meeting in Marquette this week.
For two days, six states joined the Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture and Marquette County Health Department in a regional collaboration meeting focused on information sharing.
Discussed at the meeting were topics such as produce issues, online sales, and licensing, but this meeting also served as a means for networking.
"It's very important for all of us in the food safety world to know each other, to be able to pick up the phone and know who we are talking to,” said Brad Deacon, MDARD Emergency Management Coordinator.
This helps food safety personnel respond to emergencies or outbreaks more efficiently.
"When an emergency occurs, one of the things that we need to be able to do is to respond quickly. And through this training we are receiving today, it gives us the contacts,” said Karla Horne, MDARD North Region Food Supervisor.
These contacts consist of federal partners and other states. This gives attendees the opportunity to build relationships, so when emergencies in the food sectors cross state lines they aren’t talking to each other for the first time in the heat of the moment.
"When you are trying to deal with something very stressful and very difficult to talk about, when you have that relationship, when you have that friend of the other end of the phone call - you are talking to a friend rather than a stranger,” said Horne.
Deacon says these meetings serve as a preventative action and not to worry because the food supply is safe.
"There are fewer people getting sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control there are definitely issues and because of meetings like this we are better at connecting the dots, finding the dots, and being able to take action,” said Deacon.