The Mississippi State University Extension Service will focus on food supply safety in free workshops for individuals and businesses in the food industry.

Five separate, day-long food defense workshops around the state will be offered to farm owners and managers, feed suppliers, processing plant managers, ingredient suppliers, and people in other farming, production and processing support industries. Lunch and materials will be provided. Pre-registration one week in advance is required.

The sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Dec. 5 in Brandon at the Rankin County Extension Office.
  • Jan. 17 in Verona at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center.
  • Jan. 29 in Hattiesburg at the Forrest County Extension Office.
  • Feb. 7 in Brookhaven at the Lincoln Civic Center.
  • Feb. 21 in Grenada at the Grenada County Extension Office.

Byron Williams, an MSU Extension food scientist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher specializing in meat and poultry processing, said the workshops’ primary goal is to help participants better prepare their operations against intentional or accidental contamination that could affect the safety of the food commodities, ingredients and final products.

“If fully enacted as written, the Food Safety Modernization Act will require all food related entities to have a food defense plan,” Williams said. “I strongly encourage people in the food industry to attend one of these workshops to prepare for potential regulatory requirements.”

To register online, go to, click on the link under “workshops and events” and follow the prompts. For more information or to register by phone, call Anna Hood or Byron Williams at (662) 325-3200.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is funding the workshops through the Southern Risk Management Education Center.