Public Debate Ethics and Society: Food Safety Thursday, 22 May 6.00PM


21 May 2014:   The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins has invited Dublin Institute of Technology to contribute to a national discussion on Ethics and Society. In response, DIT is hosting a series of public debates on topics that include how, or if, ethics should apply to the development of our built environment; to journalism in the age of the internet; to the professions working in financial services; and to the production of food, its quality and safety.

As part of this series on Thursday, 22 May, 2014 DIT will host a Public Debate on Ethics and Food Quality and Safety.  Members of the public are warmly invited to attend and contribute to the debate taking place in The Gleeson Theatre, DIT, Kevin Street, Dublin 8, 6.00 – 8.00pm.   Refreshments available from 6pm and debate begins at 6.30 pm.

An exciting panel of speakers has been lined up for the debate and includes Kaethe Burt O’Dea, an independent healthcare design consultant; Mary Gorbey, Senior Environmental Health Officer with the HSE; Bernard Hegarty, Director of Service Contracts at Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Paul Kelly, Director, Food & Drink Industry Ireland, IBEC.

The debate will focus on the relationship between ethics, food safety and food quality. This broad topic is multifaceted and cross-cuts many aspects of Irish society from primary producers to consumers. It is a topic which in recent years has received considerable media and public attention solidifying its position on the political agenda.  The debate will look at some important questions like:

  • Has the international reputation of Irish food been damaged by recent scandals or has the regulator and government reaction been enough to maintain the quality Irish brand?
  • What can the food industry and government do to ensure that consumer confidence and trust in Irish food is not diminished? or has the public already lost confidence in the food industry?
  • How can transparency and traceability be maintained in the food chain as globalisation races forward? Is there a role for Irish science and engineering to play by providing new methods and approaches to deal with such issues and ensure the integrity of the food chain is upheld.
  • What safeguards are available to governments and regulators to identify and prevent  food fraud and food security issues?
  • Is it ethical that locally grown produce is sold below cost by larger supermarkets?
  • Should marketing and advertising practices be reviewed for processed foods to ensure they are not presented in a manner which is likely to mislead the consumer?  i.e. the nutritional content of the food or to the quality and so called naturalness of the product or indeed the use of marketing ploys to target specific sub-groups of the population such as children?
  • How can communication channels be open to the public to ensure informed consumer choice ?


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