I am honored to have been elected President of IFT, and mindful of the responsibility that accompanies that honor. Projects and initiatives of Past Presidents and Executive Committees must be continued and championed.
We must also continually review the effectiveness of the institutionalized parts of our Institute, updating methods for smooth operation. It is the role of each new President to bring new goals and initiatives to the Institute, confident that they will be continued and championed by each successor.
Let me pledge my support to the programs and initiatives developed in recent years by our Presidents and their Executive Committees. Among these special programs is the long-awaited “Washington presence” (see p. 16). Our Washington interactions over the past several years have been effective, and our contribution to good science has been well received. An IFT office and staff in the Washington, D.C., area by September 2000 will serve as our listening post in Washington and enhance our response to emerging food issues. I hope that you all share my excitement as we enter a new phase of IFT’s continued growth as a highly respected scientific group.
Our electronic communication system is now enhanced by a portal providing access to the great new world of scientific information through IFT’s Web site. Members can reach worthwhile scientific sites from the portal. The Journal of Food Science enters the Web also, providing a searchable version accessible worldwide at the same time that the paper copies are mailed. With the year 2000, you’ll see an aggressive new look and an expansion of JFS to meet the needs of our membership. Other exciting new communications abilities are coming to the Web site. Watch for them!
Video conferences have been a great success, and there will be two such conferences this year. The first, “Biotechnology and Current World Issues” will air in November. The second, “Nonthermal Preservation Techniques,” will air in March. The latter is a landmark presentation, marking the first of a series of projects that IFT is organizing for the Food and Drug Administration.
I have had the privilege to serve as Chair of the IFT Foundation and recognize it as a must to IFT’s future growth. The Foundation funds new initiatives that are the future of the Institute, such as the very successful Congressional Fellow Program, Science Communications initiatives, and other advances. The Foundation needs every member’s support. I hope you will learn more about the Foundation via IFT’s Web site or by calling IFT headquarters. I would also like you to consider a personal donation to help the Foundation reach its goal of $12 million by 2002.
While our Institute has grown, our Sections and Divisions have not. Some organizations are abandoning their local sections. This would be a great loss. We must redefine how these groups can meet member needs. I have called for a program to evaluate our current programs and to create exciting new concepts for the continuation and expansion of the Sections and Divisions. The IFT Council and specific membership caucuses must be the place where the Sections and Divisions can bring forward both problems and solutions that can ensure their continued success. If you are a Councilor, please see this as a major responsibility.
My goals for the year are to bring food science to the boardroom of every company, the newsroom of every newspaper, and the conference room of regulatory groups. I have asked a task force to review the contributions of food science to a sustainable food supply, for publication next year. It will be written for senior food industry management, the general press, and government policy makers, whose understanding of the continued need for sound science in agriculture and the food segment is essential for our professional growth and respect.
We also must raise our sights on food safety. A major food safety event will be hosted by IFT in fall 2000, focusing on many areas of food safety. This meeting will be a sustaining event to bring scientists together to discuss all aspects of safety.
As the preeminent food science group, IFT must continue to develop a strong program of publications. A task force has been charged to explore the options available to IFT through organized publications, both printed and electronic.
The continuation of innovation requires a healthy income. To that end, a business plan has been put into place for Food Expo. Also, the Executive Committee will be studying how the transition to electronic publication will affect our total revenue. Previous Presidents and Executive Committees and the IFT staff have built a large financial reserve for IFT; however, we now have a large operating budget and must continue to improve our revenue sources.
I hope that you will join me in congratulating the Student Association in celebrating its 25th anniversary this coming year. Students represent the future of our profession, and their participation in IFT is of great importance to us all.
We have a very busy year ahead, and I appeal to you to help your Institute grow by your participation. There is so much to do and so many different opportunities to serve IFT.
All you have to do is get involved!
by CHARLES MANLEY
IFT President, 1999–2000