Industry gathers for berry health symposiumWESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — More than 20 scientists from around the world shared their research and discussed the impact berries have on disease prevention during the Berry Health Benefits Symposium June 27-29.

In all, 175 health and wellness practitioners, food industry professionals, educators, members of the scientific community and consumers attended the fourth biennial symposium that included discussions on topics like cancer prevention, metabolism, gut and heart health, brain aging and compositional chemistry and biological effects.

The symposium was sponsored by all of the major U.S. berry organizations, said Cat McKenzie, marketing director for the Corvallis-based Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission and symposium administrator and conference coordinator.

“One of the things about the berry symposium that is important is that all of these groups have joined together to put this on,” she said.

This year’s event kicked off with a new day-long series of discussions designed for the layperson titled “What Berry Health Means for You.” Four sessions covered basic berry health terminology, health trends, marketing and food labeling.

The symposium is presented every two years by the National Berry Crops Initiative, which is a nationwide organization created to develop a strategic plan for the continued growth and sustainability of berry crop production in the U.S.