Seminar Calls for Inclusive Decision-Making in Food Safety Regulation

Oct. 10, 2023
Photo of Valerisa Gaddy, PhD. speaking

In the second seminar of the Fall 2023 Indige-FEWSS Native Voices in STEM (NVIS) series, co-sponsored by the WRRC, Dr. Valerisa Gaddy highlighted the need for culturally sensitive and inclusive decision-making practices for food safety and agricultural regulations. Gaddy, a WRRC post-doctoral researcher, discussed the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which shifted the focus from responding to foodborne illnesses to preventing them before they happen. While making changes to the country’s food security framework, FSMA made no reference to Tribal Nations despite their impact on the agriculture industry. Gaddy noted that in Arizona, Tribal growers and ranchers represent almost half of the state’s farmers and ranchers. Without Tribal considerations in the regulations, Tribal farmers and ranchers were left in the dark about these regulations, which could lead to their exclusion from the produce market. In response to this issue, Gaddy has helped develop a food safety curriculum that incorporates traditional stories, cultural practices, and current practices. She highlighted the success in translating often dense jargon into workable and understandable materials that were also culturally sensitive. Gaddy asserted that going forward successful food safety programs would ideally understand the needs of Tribes, develop culturally sensitive training, and provide that training on Tribal lands.