Farmers and others involved with food production are trying to educate consumers about food safety.
"This is a topic of major concern to most consumers," said David L. Greene, acting director of the Carroll Cooperative Extension Service.
"I've got good news for you. Your food supply is safe. It's not risk-free, but it's safe," he told a group at the monthly AgribusinessBreakfast Thursday at Baugher's Country Restaurant.
In 1989, the agriculture community suffered after two pesticide scares -- Alar on apples and cyanide in Chilean grapes, he said.
"Food safety is a major issue that affects all of us," Greene said.
"People are fearful of risks they do not control."
Natural toxins and bacteria posemore risk to the food supply than pesticides, he said.
Greene showed a slide presentation prepared by the Cooperative Extension Service.
"Chemicals equal cancer to U.S. consumers," he said.
Chemicals are found naturally in foods, created during cooking and added by humans, Greene said.
Natural carcinogens are found in mushrooms, celery, grains, nuts, herbal teas, spinach and other foods, including spices, he said.
"Dose makes the poison," he said. "Everything is relative."
Improper food handling is the biggest factor in food-related illnesses, Greene said.
Beginning April 1, the Carroll County Farm Bureau will be presenting a slide show and talk to civic and school groups on food safety, Greene said.
The presentation is partof a statewide campaign by farmers to explain to consumers how theirfood is grown.
Jean Knill, information director for the county Farm Bureau, and Westminster dairy farmer Glenn Shirley are coordinating the program.