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Safe and Green: Sustainability is Top Issue for Local Food Manufacturers

Daemen Presents 2013 WNY Environmental Summit  


Safe and Green: Sustainability is Top Issue for Local Food Manufacturers


Contact: Mike Andrei

Director-College Relations

Daemen College

(716) 839-8472

[email protected]
Obtaining healthy, high quality, sustainably-manufactured foods is rapidly becoming  important to consumers, who expect those same qualities in fresh foods. And that includes consumers in Western New York.

Sustainable food manufacturing is the central theme of the 2013 WNY Environmental Summit, “Food for Thought: Safe and Green for Our Future.” The Summit is coming to the Daemen College Wick Center 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, September 28, 2013.

“Our commitment to the environment and sustainability is a key part of the Daemen College Mission. We want to lead by example,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.

“The sustainability of our food sources is critical. Not depleting our available resources, as well as securing their environmental integrity and safety are issues that are important to all of us.”

Sustainable food manufacturing minimizes the impact on the environment, greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, and energy requirements. In addition, companies are finding that reducing environmental impact and operational costs are also among the key benefits of sustainable manufacturing.

“A lot of what we’ve been working on is sustainability education within our internal community,” said Gayle Perry Denning, Director of Sustainability, Perry’s Ice Cream.

“This includes creating awareness and building a base knowledge at all levels, because our sustainability team can’t be everywhere and do everything.  We’re a relatively large company now and we’re trying to educate across the organization and help everyone realize that they have a role in sustainability.”

Denning, along with Rich Products Corporation Director of Sustainability Deb Gondek, and McCullagh Coffee Sales and Product Manager Jeff Oliver, will be participating in a panel discussion at the Summit: “How Local Food Manufacturers are Addressing Sustainability.”

“Our sustainability journey began with the founding of the company in 1918.  Back then, there was no formal sustainability program, however, the organization has always used resources as efficiently as possible, gave back to the community, and valued its employees.  These underlying themes have existed throughout the years, leading to a more formal sustainability program in 2010.

“Perry’s is proud to be part of the 9th annual Environmental Summit,” Perry added.

Perry’s Quality Assurance Coordinator Elizabeth Mitchell noted, “While creating fun, unique flavors that exceed our customer’s expectations is what Perry’s is known for, it takes more than flavor creation to ensure our success.”

“Perry’s high quality standards, regulatory compliance, and food safety criteria are all tracked, recorded and maintained by the QA and R&D team. Through responsible business practices, this team is constantly managing these responsibilities and the solid waste associated with them.”

Sponsors of the 2013 Environmental Summit include Cornell Worker Institute; Daemen College; Erie County Environmental Education Institute; Knoer Group; and McCullagh Coffee. More than 30 companies will be exhibiting. In addition to food safety and bisphenol-A in food packaging, speakers will discuss urban farming and promoting access to fresh foods. This event is free to the public.

9th Annual WNY Environmental Summit Agenda:


8:30-9 a.m.  Registration and Exhibit Tables, with free Continental Breakfast


9:00-10 a.m. Welcome, Updates on Local Environmental Initiatives




Nellie Brown – Cornell University ILR School, Worker Institute: “Endocrine Disrupters in our Environment”


Michael Lee – Citizen Action Organization of Erie County: “Local Growing”


10:00-10:30 a.m.  Exhibits and Networking


Panel Discussion:


10:30-11:15 a.m.  “How Local Food Manufacturers are Addressing Sustainability”


Gayle Perry Denning – Director of Sustainability, Perry’s Ice Cream Company


Deb Gondek – Director of Sustainability, Rich Products Corporation


Jeff Oliver – Sales and Product Manager, McCullagh Coffee



11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Michael Lee: “Food Waste ­ Ways to Reduce and Reuse”

Nellie Brown: “Endocrine Disrupters Explained”

The new kids on the block, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, are in our cleaning products, personal care products, plastic containers for food and water, pharmaceuticals, and many other materials. Their use means they can contaminate our food and eventually reach soil, wastewater and drinking water. These are emerging chemicals of concern that interfere with our bodies’ endocrine system ­ organs that control our bodies’ processes. This workshop will explore “endocrine-disrupting” chemicals, their routes of exposure, and how protection and

prevention could be done.