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Food Safety Featured at Farm-to-Fork

Chris Brunner, September 28, 2015

WIFSS crew at Farm to Fork Festival

Ready to start the day at Farm-to-Fork. Standing, LtoR: Jessica Cadriel, Heather Johnson, Anna Zwieniecka, Ronald Bond. Kneeling: Melissa Partyka and Chris Brunner

The California State Capitol stood as a giant guardian overlooking the thousands who thronged to the third annual Farm-to-Fork Festival. The crowds sprawled across the dusty pavement and drought-stricken grass median of the Capitol Mall, ignoring the late September heat. The clear blue sky and the sun’s rays added to the festive atmosphere.

The September 26th festival showcased where our food and drinks come from and brought people face-to-face with the people who are feeding our region and the world. Some of the people festival goers came face-to-face with volunteers from the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security.  People young and old were able to test their food safety knowledge at the veterinary medicine booth.

Grandma might have known best all along when she left the butter dish in the cupboard. According to the USDA’s Ask Karen, butter is safe at room temperature. These and other food safety tidbits played a role in the questions the volunteers asked festival goers as they took their chances at tossing a bean bag through a hole in Flossy the cow, or spinning wheel of fortune.

A young festival celebrant exclaimed his delight, “I’ve always wanted a squishy cow!” following his winning toss at Flossy.

Team members skillfully fielded questions from the audience ranging from food safety to pet nutrition, to questions about vet school admissions. On board from WIFSS, were Ronald Bond, Melissa Partyka, Anna Zwieniecka, Bennie Osburn, John Angelos, Heather Johnson, Jessica Cadriel, Emily Kunz, Chris Brunner and Michelle Warner. Monique Garcia Gunther represented the School of Veterinary Medicine.

And what, you may ask, is the relationship between veterinary medicine and food safety? Veterinarians have an important role to play in food safety as they are very important to the health of food animals, such as cattle, pigs, chicken, and the like.  They can also help with produce food safety because they know about the pathogens, or bad bugs, that animals may shed in the environment.

Programs at the School of Veterinary Medicine such as the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center and the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, do much to protect the food supply and support agricultural producers and commodity groups.

Monique Garcia Gunther at Farm to Fork

Monique Garcia Gunther gets ready to hand the winning prize to a customer who has answered a food safety question correctly.

Melissa Partyka at Farm to Fork

Melissa Partyka and customer watch the wheel to see if the prize will be the squishy cow.