National leaders in medicine, biotechnology, agriculture and business will explore the implications of integrating medicine and food production to benefit consumer health at a national "Foods for Health" conference in Minneapolis May 19-21, 2002 at the Radisson Hotel Metrodome.

"We have enormous opportunities to use foods to increase the health and well-being of the American public and the world's population," said Ralph Hardy, president of the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council. "Likewise, we must face the legal, ethical and scientific challenges related to pursuing or not pursuing new approaches and the applications of technology- and plant-derived enhancements," Hardy said.

The conference, sponsored by the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council and co-hosted by the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center and College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, features nationally recognized experts in medicine, plant breeding, food science, agricultural research, nutrition, public health, ethics, consumer choice, and regulatory and policy issues. The conference will address topics such as the use of botanicals as therapeutics, the role of edible vaccines, the use of foods to reduce the risk of chronic disease, food allergies and other health issues.

The conference will include speakers from the National Science Foundation, the American Dietetic Association, the National Consumers League, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Mayo Clinic, as well as from food companies such as General Mills and Cargill, biotechnology companies, the University of Minnesota and other universities. George McGovern, former U.S. senator and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, will deliver a keynote address Tuesday, May 21. Conference session moderators include Lea Thompson, correspondent for NBC's Dateline, and Robert Bergland, University of Minnesota regent and former U.S. secretary of agriculture.

"As a state with a history of leadership and innovation in agriculture, food and medicine, Minnesota recognizes the significant opportunities facing us as a society and as a research university--whether that means looking for ways to boost the anti-oxidants in broccoli or matching human and plant genomes to achieve potential health benefits," said Charles Muscoplat, university vice president for agricultural policy and dean of the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. "The strengths of the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center and College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences are combining to provide a neutral public forum for addressing these critical issues."

Registration details and more information on the conference are available by clicking here or by calling (612) 625-6710.