Welcome to the 21st century! Is this the 20 hundreds or the 2000s? Only one New Year celebration has passed, but this year’s celebration required us to spend more time reflecting on the past and considering what the future will bring
At the beginning of the past century our world contained about a billion people with a life expectancy of less than 50 years. Last July, the world’s population passed the 6 billion mark with life expectancy in the developed nations of greater than 70 years. The increases can be attributed to improved hygiene, working conditions, medical treatment, safe food, and good nutrition. Our profession is certainly one of the unsung contributors to the miracles of the 20th century. Science itself has been the great contributor to the growth, happiness, and health of the world’s population. During the Institute of Food Technologists’ 60 years of existence, it has played a significant role in helping to provide these benefits.
I would like to tell you what the Institute will be doing to meet your needs as we begin the 21st century.
Internet. Check out the information available on the IFT web site, especially details about IFT’s new portal. www.ift.org should be an everyday experience for the food scientist and manager. It’s a one-stop site for all of the information about food—the portal, for instance, has more than 1,000 links to scientific sites. IFT has established a policy that will allow linkage to other sites regardless of viewpoint, as long as they present ethical, scientifically based information.
Video conferencing. A video conference on biotechnology, held on November 16, 1999, operated at 22 sites, and offered its information to more than 500 people in the audience. The next videoconference will be held on April 11, 2000, on the subject of nonthermal processes in food preservation. Access the conference from the www.ift.org /video site for a fast update.
The Global Village. Food Technology and Journal of Food Science are both posted on the Web, allowing our international members to read these journals at the same time as our domestic members. The first issue of International Food Technology has been posted on the Web, with the cooperation of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). It covers international news, articles of international interest, and other information and will appear quarterly.
For the past few years, IFT has been studying how the Institute can play a stronger role in the global arena. We have reaffirmed our support of IUFoST. At its September meeting in Sydney, Australia, the governing group of the International Union changed the way it operates. Many of the international representatives have debated the need for a new organization of the IUFoST governance and approved the changes at the Sydney meeting. I attended that meeting and came away reassured that the changes will led to a stronger International Union where IFT can see its support fully utilized and appreciated.
Publications. The future is about the transfer of information. IFT recognizes this by making a major refocusing of Journal of Food Science. JFS Scientific Editor Owen Fennema has been working to expand the journal and to identify segmentation of the journal that could lead to the development of new dedicated journals for specific fields. Our educators will find the upcoming “Internet-only” Journal of Food Science Education to be a major new effort to provide a forum for their specific needs and discussions. A task force is studying the potential for establishment of an IFT press for additional publications.
Washington Office. Science communication has been a major part of IFT programing. With the selection of Fred Shank, a former FDA director and expert in nutrition and food safety, as Vice President, Office of Science, Communications, and Government Relations, our ability to communicate to policy makers and our members is greatly enhanced. Look for the official opening of the office in the spring.
Change in IFT governance. The recent change in IFT governance will continue to allow decisions to be made rapidly, and provide discussion in a more timely manner. Members must have the ability to communicate their needs to the officers and staff of the organization. Both of these goals have been met with our new form of managing the organization. The Executive Committee has the responsibility of managing the Institute through the staff, the Institute committees, and task forces established for specific needs. The Council is the representation of the membership. Your input is vital to the management of the Institute. I will say more about the role of the Council and the responsibilities of those people you selected to represent you in my next President’s Page. I believe that our Institute must be responsive to your needs, comments, and criticism. You can get my attention by sending me an e-mail at [email protected] or an old-fashioned letter (those slow moving paper things used in the past century, a couple of months ago!)
Until we meet again, I wish you good health, happiness, and success as we move together into the 21st century.
by CHARLES MANLEY
IFT President, 1999–2000