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Recent Meetings

American Time Use Survey Early Results Conference

In December 2005, ERS, the University of Maryland, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cosponsored the “American Time Use Survey Early Results Conference” in Bethesda, Maryland. The Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey (ATUS) collects information on how Americans use their time, and survey data show the range of detailed activities performed daily, including weekdays versus weekends, the amount of time spent on each activity, and the daily schedule of activities. Using ATUS data, researchers presented 15 papers and 27 posters on a variety of topics, including time spent on child care, elder care, travel, food preparation and consumption, sleeping, and exercising. ERS presented details about its Food & Eating Module questions, which were added to the ATUS in October 2005. These questions were designed to examine relationships between time use; food purchases, preparation, and consumption; and obesity. Conference papers are available at: http://www.atususers.umd.edu/papers/. Karen Hamrick

Roundtable on Food Safety Insurance and Risks

In December 2005, ERS and the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania conducted a roundtable on the role of private insurance and third-party certification in monitoring food safety performance and managing food safety risks. The ERS/Wharton roundtable brought together representatives from the insurance industry, third-party certifiers, food manufacturers and distributors, government regulators, as well as legal experts and economists to examine the evolution of third-party food safety certification in the U.S. Fred Kuchler

European Union Food Regulations and Standards

In November 2005, ERS and Farm Foundation cosponsored a workshop, “European Union Food Regulations and the Emergence of Private Standards: Implications for International Trade.” The new EU food regulations are increasingly complex, geared toward process verification and traceability, while private standards play an increasing role. These developments have significant cross-border implications, affecting both U.S. and global food trade. Speakers from Europe and the U.S., representing the food industry, regulatory experts, and academics, along with over 100 participants, gathered to explore the key challenges and opportunities for the U.S. food industry posed by the new EU food regulatory environment. Speakers’ presentations are available at the Farm Foundation website.