What is IFT?

What is IFT

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) exists to advance the science of food. Our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere.

Founded in 1939, IFT is a nonprofit scientific society with 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT champions the use of sound science across the food value chain through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy, encouraging the exchange of information, providing both formal and informal educational opportunities, and furthering the advancement of the profession.

  • IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.
  • IFT provides a wide range of food science-related continuing education programs. Each year, IFT conducts the world's largest annual forum, the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo®, covering the latest food science trends, new product and technology innovations, and scientific applications.
  • As part of its educational efforts, IFT contributes to public policy and opinion at national, state, and local levels and in the international arena, advocating the scientific perspective on food science and technology issues.
  • Through the IFT Foundation, founded in 1985, IFT supports programs such as undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and career guidance programs.
  • The IFT Student Association, founded in 1975, enables food science students to interact with peers at other universities and with working professionals.

In which U.S. coalitions and partnerships does IFT participate?

  • United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
  • Partnership for Food Safety Education
  • Coalition for National Science Funding
  • Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions
  • National Coalition for Food & Agricultural Research
  • Coalition On the Public Understanding of Science
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Coalition

IFT works in partnership with which international and global organizations?

What is IFT

  • Codex Alimentarius Commission (an international food standards setting organization of the United Nationals’ Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization, of which IFT is a recognized non-government organization)
  • Chinese Institute of Food Science & Technology
  • Latin American and Caribbean Association of Food Science and Technology
  • International Food Information Council
  • National Center for Food Protection and Defense
  • International Food Information Service
  • International Union of Food Science and Technology

What are some career options for Food Scientists and Technologists?

  • Food scientists may work in a university, in industry, or for the government. About 60% of food scientists work in the “research & development/scientific/technical” area.
  • As a professor or research associate in a university, a food scientist may conduct basic research, teach undergraduate or graduate students, and/or may be involved in outreach with local communities and industry.
  • Employees in the food industry may conduct applied or basic research, and may work in the areas of product development, quality assurance, plant management, sales, and marketing.
  • Those working in government may also conduct research, or determine regulatory standards for food product safety and quality, or inspect products.

What does it mean to be an IFT member?

What is IFT

  • Members use the unique resources provided by IFT to connect with people, share expertise and insights, and extend their professional network. IFT members have access to scientific and technical research, new products and technologies, industry news and consumer trends.
  • Continuing education programs, employment services and volunteer opportunities are also available through IFT.

How does IFT contribute to the science of the profession?

IFT Expertise

  • As a scientific society, IFT plays an active educational role in public policy and regulatory activities at national, state, and local levels.
  • IFT and its members are often invited to serve upon government and other advisory panels, and regularly offer testimony and scientific insights to government agencies and congressional committees.

Expert Reports

  • Expert Reports are comprehensive reviews of complex issues with public policy implications that garner attention in the scientific and public arenas.
  • The reports are produced by panels of experts convened by IFT. Supplemental documents that summarize key report findings are also available.

Scientific Status Summaries

  • IFT Scientific Status Summaries are peer-reviewed reports that assess the current state of
    science on food issues.

Contract Reports

  • IFT is under contract to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to comprehensively evaluate selected areas in human health, food safety, food defense, and food processing so that FDA can develop policies based on state-of-the-art knowledge and better address food protection.
  • IFT has worked as contractors or subcontractors for other organizations as well, such as the Academy for Economic Development, National Center for Food Protection and Defense (a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, and RTI, International.

IFT Resources

Food Technology
IFT’s monthly magazine, provides scientific reports, regulatory and policy news, industry news, editorials, and updates on members’ activities.

Journal of Food Science
Published nine times per year, features peer-reviewed original research, critical reviews, and hypothesis papers on food chemistry, toxicology and chemical food safety, food engineering and physical properties, food microbiology and safety, health, nutrition, and food, nanoscale food science, engineering, and technology, and sensory and food quality.

Journal of Food Science Education
A peer-reviewed online journal providing information on current innovations, trends, and issues surrounding food science and technology education at all levels.

Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 
A quarterly peer-reviewed online journal.

The Weekly 
IFT's electronic newsletter that highlights the latest food research, company, and regulatory news every week.

Provides exclusive member news and IFT updates electronically once a month.

Eat Your Words 
A monthly electronic newsletter for new professionals.