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The Seafood Foundation, which addresses the importance of seafood in the American diet, has hired Linda Cornish (left) as its new executive director. Bringing nearly two decades of senior executive experience to her new role, including stints at the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce and Chicago-based consulting firm Arthur Andersen LLC, Cornish was most recently COO at the Bill of Rights Institute in Washington, D.C.
“The growth potential for seafood in the U.S. is no doubt a business opportunity, but it’s much more than dollars and cents,” observed Cornish. “In this country, we simply don’t eat enough seafood, and that leads to omega-3 deficiency. Add a virtual epidemic of heart disease, and the need for Americans to eat more seafood becomes a real public health issue.”
In her earlier position as VP of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Cornish played a key role in a grass-roots effort to bring fresh local produce to the city. As part of the nutrition education initiative, she cofounded the Memphis Farmers Market, which featured 60-plus farmers and more than 65,000 customers.
“Linda is an exceptional leader who knows how important it is to fund and build partnerships for what will certainly prove to be a driving force in communicating about the vital health benefits of seafood,” noted Jack Kilgore, president of the consumer products division of Rich Products Corp. in Buffalo, N.Y., and a member of the Washington-based foundation’s steering committee.
“Building awareness of the real risks of not eating seafood is a crucial component to helping not only consumers, but [also] doctors and dietitians, understand what is at stake here,” said Cornish, who will travel to Bangkok for the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s GOAL 2012 meeting later this month. “If misunderstanding and misinformation was scaring consumers away from vegetables, the public health community would not stand for it. The same goes for seafood.”
According to the foundation, low seafood consumption is the second-biggest dietary contributor to preventable deaths in the United States, responsible for the loss 84,000 lives annually -- a toll greater than that of diabetes.