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Swine nutritionists called on to bridge the producer-consumer gap

5 November 2018, at 12:00am

An Iowa State University swine nutritionist suggests the nutritionist is increasingly being called upon to help bridge the information gap between food producers and consumers

Legislation-Consumerism-Exports, Complicating the Life of the Nutritionist will be discussed as part of Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium 2018, 14-15 November in Saskatoon.

Dr John Patience, a Professor in Applied Swine Nutrition with Iowa State University, observes that new demands are coming directly from consumers - from the grocery stores where people buy their food -and the nutritionist has a role to play in responding.

Dr Patience explains:

"I think the antibiotic-free claim is one of the largest in legislation. It's also significant on the consumer directive side of things.

"One factor that hasn't really affected nutritionists per say but has been a big factor in rising food trends, is consumers demonstrating that they like to feel a little closer to where their food comes from. Some people will invest more in that than others.

"The best example of that would be farmers' markets where the consumer can go and often talk to the person who's raised the pig or raised the cattle or produced the vegetables. They feel very close to their supplier.

"Even at the commercial retail level, there's attempts to try to give consumers more information on where their food comes from and how it was reared, and, in that respect, the nutritionist plays a role because they can provide information on how these pigs are being fed."

Dr Patience says this can feed into the information pathway that's being developed between the producers of food and the consumers of food.

As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca