Because of concerns over the H1N1 flu outbreak, the Food Marketing Institute has postponed two events that were scheduled in Dallas for this week.
The association postponed its Future Connect leadership conference, scheduled May 4–6, and its Marketechnics technology conference, originally slated for May 5–8. “The increased urgency of the alerts from health officials and the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services confirmed our decision to not host a large gathering where attendees would be in close proximity. We seek to support their recommended precautions and prevention steps and would not want to contribute to spread of the virus in any way,” said Leslie Sarasin, president and chief executive officer at the Arlington, Va.–based association, in a press release.
Sarasin said the association “agonized” over the decision, but concluded that the top priority for members, who are food retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers, is to serve their customers, employees, and communities in this time of uncertainty. “FMI is focused on assisting our members in their efforts to communicate with consumers about the influenza outbreak,” she added in the statement.
FMI leadership is evaluating options for rescheduling these events and will share details about their plans in the near future.
FMI is not the only group to postpone a meeting because of the flu scare. The Drug Information Association announced that its Latin America Regulatory Conference, scheduled for May 13–15 in Mexico City, would be postponed. “DIA is monitoring the situation closely and will provide new dates as soon as information about this rescheduled conference becomes available,” the association said in a press release.