Mary K. Schmidl

Three recent important interlinked events will shape the future of food science and technology and the life of everyone who works in our field: (1) the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST)’s 11th World Congress of Food Science and Technology, which was hosted by the Korean Society of Food Science and Technology in Seoul, Korea, April 21–28, 2001; (2) the 2nd Meeting of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, which took place during the World Congress; and (3) the 9th IUFoST General Assembly, which was attended by the delegates of the IUFoST adhering bodies.

The World Congress brought together 2,000 food scientists and technologists from around the world to listen to plenary lectures, exchange the latest cutting-edge food research information, and discuss important issues in roundtables.

IUFoST is the country-member world organization of food science and technology. Its General Assembly, held in conjunction with each World Congress, consists of delegates representing 70 countries and is the global authority in our field. Its decisions affect all our lives and futures. IFT has the honor and privilege of representing the United States and appointing seven U.S. delegates. Our current delegates are Malcolm Bourne (chair), Roy Arnold, Michele Buchanan, Frank Busta, Mary Wagner, Bob Smith, and Bruce Stillings, with various IFT presidents replacing individuals who are unable to attend. A full report by the U.S. delegation will be soon published in Food Technology and on the IFT Web site. Here I will give brief highlights.

Each day began with two excellent plenary lectures (ten in all). One was a thought-provoking and challenging Founder’s Lecture by Owen Fennema entitled, “Endogenous Food Enterprises in Developing Countries: A Quagmire of Impediments.” It dealt with the problems of economic development in less-fortunate countries. The Founder’s Lecture was established in 1983 to feature a major paper by a well-known food scientist that would either open the Congress or fill a prominent plenary spot on the Congress program.

In addition, I had the privilege of chairing a plenary lecture on “World Food Supply in the 21st Century: Key Policy Issues,” by Gerard Viatte of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development; and Chuck Manley chaired a plenary lecture on “Future Foods: East Meets West” by C.Y. Lee of Cornell University.

There were numerous symposia and roundtables. Of particular interest were the roundtables on “Distance Education,” organized and chaired by Daryl Lund; “The Formation of the Food Professional,” organized and chaired by Ralph Blanchfield; and “Cultivating Global Connections: Student Perspectives,” organized by the IFT Student Association and chaired by Justin Shimek. The leadership demonstrated by our students was tremendous, and I can assure you that the future is in excellent hands.

The International Academy is an invited group of distinguished food scientists and technologists who provide a pool of scientific expertise in food science and technology from which IUFoST may draw nonaligned expert advice on scientific matters. A report of the meeting of the Academy, which elected 13 new Distinguished Fellows, will be published separately by Owen Fennema, the retiring Chair of the Academy. The Academy recommended, and the General Assembly approved, the election of Malcolm Bourne as the new Vice-Chair.

During the Congress banquet, it was my pleasure and privilege as IFT President to invite the assembled participants and guests to attend the 12th World Congress, which IFT will have the honor of hosting in 2003. This will be the first time that a World Congress has revisited a country—the 3rd World Congress, at which IUFoST was formally constituted, was held in Washington, D.C., in 1970. IFT is already hard at work, under the leadership of IFT Past President David Lineback (currently Chair of the IUFoST Scientific Council) to make the 12th World Congress an equally historic occasion.

On the final day of the Congress, a meeting of the General Assembly (equivalent to our Council meeting) took place. Reports from the President, Secretary-General, committees, the International Academy, and the Service Delivery Centers (delegate working groups) demonstrated IUFoST’s refocused and broader emphasis on exchange of knowledge and elimination of hunger and malnutrition throughout the world.

In addition to the formal events, a vast amount of invaluable informal international networking took place. I returned more than ever convinced that IUFoST is the world community of food science and technology and that, as the U.S. adhering body, IFT and its members need to continue lending it their support.

The success of the World Congress is a tribute to the the Korean Society’s very hard work in planning and organizing it. It presents IFT with a challenge and opportunity in organizing the next one in Chicago, July 16–20, 2003 (immediately following IFT’s own Annual Meeting). It will be an event you will not want to miss.

IFT President, 2000–01