Contentious food issues topic of U of M health symposiumby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Some of the most contentious food issues will be debated at a University of Minnesota symposium Monday.
National and international experts will discuss new research on organic and processed foods, the use of antibiotics in market animals and the role of high fructose corn syrup in the obesity epidemic.
Mindy Kurzer organized the event and says processed food is a hotly argued topic. On one hand, some people believe processing has contributed to America's obesity epidemic. But Kurzer says there are other valid perspectives.
"Food processing has made our food safer, food processing includes the inclusion of fortification and added ingredients that improve our health. So food processing has two sides," she said.
She says all of the food issues are complicated - especially those that are linked in some way to obesity.
"People have been working on obesity prevention and treatment for years and years," she said. "And despite that people are getting fatter and fatter. What's going on? That's what the discussion is about."
Symposium speakers will also debate the pros and cons of eating organic foods.
Kurzer doubts researchers will be able to resolve any of these issues in a day, but she believes the debate will draw much needed attention to the link between food and health.
The event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, September 21 in Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on the West Bank of the U of M's Campus. The event is open to the public, though a $100 registration fee is required.