During your last trip to the grocery store were you overwhelmed by various terms on today’s food labels such as fresh, organic, locally grown and natural? We hear these terms every day, but often these terms are not easily defined.

Last week a panel with expertise in farming, ranching, veterinary medicine, nutrition science and food and nutrition services tackled this tough question at the Food Dialogues in Washington D.C. during the 90th USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Notably, the take-away message: when consumers can understand and connect to where their food comes from, they are able to make informed decisions about their food choices. Dr. Janey Thorton described how local farmer’s markets are great resources for consumers to connect with the farmers who are producing the food they choose to set on the dinner table. 

In regard to organic versus conventional, most panelists voiced that consumers should have options. Dennis Derryck discussed U.S. Food insecurity is more about distribution and affordability than organic versus conventional.

The panel was moderated by Carolyn O’Neill registered dietician, author and television personality. The distinguished panel included: 

  • Bob Haselwood, Farmer, Haselwood Farms, Berryton, Kan.
  • Dr. Roger Clemens, Chief Scientific Officer, Horn and Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, USC School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Dennis Derryck, President and Founder, Corbin Hill Farms, New York, NY
  • Dr. Craig Rowles, Partner and General Manager, Elite Pork Partnership, LLP, Carroll, Iowa
  • Dr. Janey Thorton, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, USDA
  • Barbara Ruhs, MS, RD, LDN, Supermarket Health & Nutrition Expert, Phoenix, Ariz.

To view the full panel discussion visit: http://www.fooddialogues.com/events/food-dialogues-washington-d.c.