Media Advisory: U.S. food industry leaders to convene for health talks in Texas

Produce for health marks Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center’s 20th year

What: A national, daylong conference to hear the latest findings on connections between fruit and vegetable production and medical advances and to mark the 20th anniversary of Texas A&M University’s Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center.

When and Where: 8:20 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 25, Texas A&M AgriLife Center, 600 John Kimbrough Blvd., College Station. An open house of the research facility at 1500 Research Parkway will be from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Feb. 26.

Why: “This center is unique because of our strong partnership between diverse industry and interdisciplinary scientists to improve the health and wellbeing of people,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, the center’s director. “We are known for the interdisciplinary efforts of scientists to develop healthy, flavorful and tasty vegetables and fruits such as peppers, the maroon carrot, mild 1015 onion, cantaloupes, peaches and plums that also have higher health promoting compounds.

“Our goal for the conference is to bring top-notch people from the food industry and medical research together so that consumers can hear different perspectives and dialogue,” Patil said.

Who: U.S. researchers, producers and allied produce industry leaders, including:

·         “Scientific Advances in Produce for Health” – Dr. David Katz, Yale Prevention Research Center director and ABC News medical consultant.

·         “Green with Envy” – Dr. Rod Dashwood, director of the Center for Epigenetics and Disease Prevention at the Institute of Bioscience and Technology in Houston and recently affiliated with the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center.

·         Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs.

·         “Improving our Health: How Research Can Help Increase Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables” –  A panel of food industry representatives — Charles Arnot, CEO of Center for Food Integrity in Gladstone, Mo.; Elizabeth Pivonka, CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation in Hockessin, Del.; Anita Jones-Mueller, CEO of Healthy Dining Finder in San Diego, Calif.; Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board in Irvine, Calif.; Linda Eatherton, director of global, food and nutrition practice for Ketchum, Inc. in Chicago, Ill.; and David M.Stark, global consumer benefit leader for Monsanto.

For more information, contact the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at VFIC.Center@agnet.tamu.edu or 979-862-4521.

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