NEW HAVEN – The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) invited interested citizens, legislators, and the media at their annual Spring Open House. This year's topic, Safeguarding the Food Supply and Environment, was selected to showcase the various research and service activities of the CAES Department of Analytical Chemistry that serve to insure the safety of both the food supply and the environment. Our programs focus on anticipated chemicals, such as oil-related compounds, pesticides and emerging contaminants (including nanoparticles). We also conduct tests of compounds and toxins that may be used to intentionally compromise the food supply or environment. Departmental programs in these areas have Federal partners such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Civil Support Team of the CT National Guard, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). State partners include the CT Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), CT Department of Agriculture, CT Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), and the CT Department of Public Health (DPH).
Dr. Louis A. Magnarelli, Director of CAES, welcomed everyone to this yearly public event, which featured how Experiment Station scientists and technicians protect the food supply and the environment from toxic chemicals. "The Experiment Station has assisted Connecticut residents since 1875 by providing research-based information on all aspects of plants and agriculture. Today's event on safeguarding the food supply and the environment is of particular importance to our state and nation," said Dr. Magnarelli.
Attendees heard short presentations on (1) "The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response: The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station and the US FDA Food Emergency Response Network (FERN)," (2) "Examination of the Role that Pesticides Play in the Decline of Honey Bees," and (3) "Nanomaterial Contamination of Agricultural Crops" Attendees of the guided tours learned about The Department of Analytical Chemistry testing program, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Mobile Laboratory, and The New Crops Program. There was also a display from the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Program; the FBI WMD Coordinator collaborates with Department of Analytical Chemistry staff on issues related to chemical terrorism and food safety. Experts also answered questions on plant identification and disease diagnosis, soil testing, and weed and insect identification—all important in maintaining a healthy environment and safe food supply.
Editor's Note: All information here is from a press release.