• It should come as no surprise that efforts to attract news media to the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting & Food Expo can be rewarded with significant coverage of the latest advancements, products, and issues affecting food.
Comprehensive coverage began in earnest on Day 3 of the show, when the Orange County (Calif.) Register ran the front-page story, “Having a food flight of fancy means sieving on the edge,” published June 17. Products presented during the show by Kerry Ingredients, Helm New York, and Red River Commodities were featured in the article which included two photographs to help tell its story. One of the nation’s 30 largest newspapers, the Orange County Register has a circulation of 358,000.
Not to be outdone by its local print competition, independent Los Angeles television news station KCAL Ch. 9 aired three versions of its story on the IFT Food Expo during its noon, evening, and nighttime newscasts. The three newscasts boast a total audience of 500,000 viewers.
• The next day, June 18, Reuters Health news wire distributed to outlets worldwide the article, “Government, industry join to protect the food supply.” Featuring commentary provided during the Hot Topic session on bioterrorism, the article led with insight provided by IFT member LeeAnne Jackson of the Food and Drug Administration. “We operate with a mindset that it’s not an issue of ‘if ’ but ‘when’ a food terrorism event will occur,” said Jackson, who also cautioned, “We currently have no evidence that food is a target.” Urging an interdisciplinary approach to reduce the opportunity for attacks against the food supply was Rhona Applebaum of the National Food Processors Association. “No one group is going to be able to solve the problem,” Applebaum was quoted in the article. “We have to work together.”
Acknowledged as the world’s largest international news agency, Reuters publishes news in 26 different languages in 150 countries and has 500,000 subscribers.
• Scripps Howard News Service distributed no fewer than five articles featuring information provided during the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo. Among those picked up by the largest news outlets were articles entitled, “Rx for the obese: Walk 25 to 33 miles per week,” published June 24 in the San Diego Union-Tribune, and “Houseflies can make you sick,” published June 21 in The Province of Vancouver, Canada. The Union-Tribune is among the 25 largest newspapers in the nation with a daily circulation over 375,000. The Province circulates 162,000 papers. Scripps Howard stories are aired and published daily by hundreds of news outlets coast-to-coast.
• Los Angeles television station KABC Ch. 7 utilized its regular Friday evening food segment as the natural outlet for its IFT Food Expo coverage when it aired a two-minute feature during its 4:00 p.m. newscast June 21. KABC demonstrated the breadth of ingenuity that’s displayed on the show floor by bringing to its viewers the tastes of ketchup-flavored encapsulates as displayed by Balchem Corp., and hot pepper-flavored ice cream toppings offered by Tabasco Brands. Adding professional perspective to the feature was Mark Kantor, University of Maryland. Viewership of this ABC News affiliate’s newscasts tops 390,000 in the nation’s second-largest metropolitan market.
• While the Annual Meeting & Food Expo often capture the most attention of the news media, IFT member-generated insight and opinion is not significantly limited during this period. Prior to the Anaheim event, NBC television affiliate WMAQ Ch. 5 interviewed Charles Santerre on the topic of genetically altered foods. Santerre offered insight that substantiated claims supporting the use of GMO foods—insight that countered the opinion of an anti-GMO author the report also utilized. As seen by more than 250,000 viewers during this 10:00 p.m. news segment June 21, Santerre told consumers that the more they understand about genetically altered foods, the more comfortable they’ll be when deciding whether to purchase them.
• That message, stressing the importance of consumer education, was also delivered by Christine Bruhn in the May 15 Chicago Tribune article on irradiation, “Zapping Public Fear.” “Many household items, like BandAids and pharmaceuticals, have been irradiated with gamma rays,” said Bruhn, who in her education programs at University of California-Davis emphasizes that “irradiation is safe in all forms.” The article also relied on the expertise of IFT President-Elect Mark McLellan, who predicted that e-beam irradiation could be the wave of the future for providing consumers the safest possible foods. The Chicago Tribune is the nation’s seventh-largest daily newspaper, with a circulation of 575,000. The article also appeared in the July 10 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, a daily paper with a circulation of 400,000.
by JAMES N. KLAPTHOR
Media Relations Manager