Rosetta Newsome

The breadth of exposure that our Expert Reports, Food and Drug Administration Contract Task Order reports, and other scientific documents enjoy is amazing.

• IFT’s Expert Report: Biotechnology and Foods was translated into Spanish and published in its entirety in La Alimentación Latinoamericana and was translated into Japanese for publication and wide distribution in Japan. The report was the basis for an IFT statement voiced on Public-TV Argentina, and it has been cited on many Web sites in Canada, Australia, Belgium, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. Dept. of State included information about the report on its Web site; several U.S. embassies have posted it on their sites; and, the report was included on a site of the U.S. Mission to the European Union. Not only has the main page for the report logged more than 25,000 user sessions and the report been downloaded thousands of times, but its main Web page continues to average approximately 1,000 visitors each month, more than a year and a half after release.

Text from the report has been widely reprinted in a variety of outlets, including the Current Issues SourceFile (Congressional Information Service), a Cargill intranet biotechnology policy manual, a GM Technology CD-ROM of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, “Business Briefing: Food Technology” (World Markets Research Center, London), and a high school lesson plan produced by The Sacramento Bee.

The report has also served as the basis for many presentations to a variety of groups. The report was presented to a Texas Medical Association Task Force on Genetically Modified Foods by IFT President-Elect Mark McLellan; to a Codex biotechnology task force; and to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

IFT’s Expert Report on Emerging Microbiological Food Safety Issues: Implications for Control in the 21st Century logged via its main Web page more than 7,500 visitors in the first three months following its release in February 2002. Downloads of the entire report reached more than 2,500. Individual sections were downloaded nearly 9,000 times, and outreach materials more than 7,200 times. A link to the report has been added to the USDA/FDA Foodborne Illness Education Information Center. Soon after release, the report was referenced in 200 news outlets, including CNN-TV and Radio, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and Associated Press and Scripps Howard News wires running in major newspapers across the country.

Shortly after the report’s release, IFT was invited by the National Academy of Sciences to address conclusions about science in food safety management with the NAS committee that is evaluating food safety performance standards. Other sections of the report have also been useful to NAS deliberations, said Jeffery Farber of Health Canada, a member of IFT’s Expert Panel. Furthermore, the report is a significant resource for the Canadian Food and Water Safety Coalition of Canadian commodity groups, industry, government, and academia, via Expert Panel member Brett Finlay of the University of British Columbia.

Others use the report in the classroom, in orientation sessions for the local/state/national public health community, and elsewhere. Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety presented aspects of the report at an international workshop of the Environmental Protection Agency and OECD.

Opportunities to discuss the task order reports issued through our FDA contract have been notable. Frank Busta, IFT’s Senior Science Advisor, has given 20 presentations on kinetics of alternative processing technologies, processing parameters for controlling pathogens in cold smoked fish, safety of fresh and fresh-cut produce, and potentially hazardous foods (PHF). In addition, the PHF report, Evaluation and Definition of Potentially Hazardous Foods, was presented in its entirety at the April 2002 Conference for Food Protection, where the issue—a subject of some confusion and concern among professionals—remains under deliberation. Also, at the annual meeting of the International Association for Food Protection held earlier this month in San Diego, Calif., Busta presented the framework that the IFT panel developed to determine whether foods need time/temperature control for safety.

With efforts like these, and with your support, the Science and Communications Dept. and our colleagues in the Washington, D.C., office will continue raising the awareness of IFT as a leading source of information on food science and technology, advocating the scientific perspective on food-related issues, and increasing opportunities for members to address food-related issues.

by ROSETTA NEWSOME
Director, IFT Dept. of Science & Communications