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Food Representatives Gather For Annual Event

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When you sit down at the dinner table, you may sometimes wonder where your food comes from.

Tuesday, representatives throughout the state met in Sioux Falls for the annual South Dakota Food Chain Round Table, trying to answer that question for consumers.     

From the roots of food production on the farm to the dinner table; it's important that everyone involved in the food industry is able to work together.

“Whether it’s a farmer who’s presenting, or a restaurant owner, or someone who’s presenting about nutrition; we’ve got folks from every sector of the food chain that are participating,” says Charlie Arnot, C.E.O. of the Center For Food Integrity.

This year, one of the key topics is consumer trust. These experts have realized that over the past few years, people want to know more about where their food is coming from; and of course, whether it’s safe.

“If the consumer begins to lose trust, everyone in the food industry becomes impacted; so it’s really in the collective best interest to make sure we give consumers the information they need and work together to meet their expectations,” says Arnot.

After meeting with specialists from each individual part of the food industry, other specialists like restaurant owners, chefs, and dietitians are better equipped to answer questions from the public concerning the field as a whole—whether it be through newsletters or tours.

“Those are opportunities for people who are really curious how farming has changed over the past few years to get that first hand experience and ask those questions they have and learn right there on the farm and see that,” says Holly Swee, a registered dietitian for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.

That maintains the consumer trust and increases the transparency across the entire food system.

“It’s a great opportunity in our state, since we are really an ag driven state, to have those people here to discuss current issues that are happening,” says Swee.

At the end of the day, this opportunity better prepares these food representatives for any other challenges that may come their way.

This is the fourth annual South Dakota Food Chain Round Table event held by South Dakota Food United. Throughout the year, there are also other meetings that stem from this particular event that will keep these representatives up to date.
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