Neil Mermelstein

Neil H. Mermelstein

More than 20,700 gathered in Chicago for this year’s IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo.
The Institute of Food Technologists’ 2003 Annual Meeting + Food Expo®, held in Chicago, Ill., on June 12–16, attracted 20,707 attendees—more than 2,500 over last year’s attendance and the second-largest attendance in IFT’s 63-year history.

This year’s event featured 1,739 technical presentations and 999 exhibiting companies, 100 of them exhibiting for the first time this year, as well as numerous meetings, short courses, and social events. Here are some highlights.

Opening Event
IFT President Mark McLellan [1] welcomed Annual Meeting + Food Expo® attendees at the Opening Event on Saturday night. After emphasizing what “an amazing year of change” this has been for IFT, he outlined the Institute’s strategic planning effort, which established a core purpose, a set of goals, and a brand image for IFT as its members’ “most indispensable, leading-edge resource for programs, services, and experiences.”

He also announced the launching of, a personalized information system customized to meet an individual member’s need for specific categories of information, delivered automatically upon logging onto the IFT Web site.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson presented the keynote address (see sidebar), then McLellan thanked Past President Philip E. Nelson for his service to the organization and introduced C. Ann Hollingsworth as IFT’s next President, Herbert Stone as the next President-Elect, and Barbara Byrd Keenan as the successor to Daniel E. Weber as IFT’s Executive Vice President. He thanked Weber for his many years of service to IFT [2], presenting him with a laptop computer on behalf of IFT as a token of IFT’s gratitude.

The 18 newly elected Fellows of the Institute [3] and this year’s 13 Achievement Award winners were introduced (complete details will be provided in the October issue). Shown in [4] is Nicholas Appert Award winner Dietrich Knorr with Appert Award Jury Chair Linda Perucca. Retiring Journal of Food Science Editor Owen Fennema was presented a Waterford crystal vase [5] as thanks for serving as Editor in Chief of IFT’s scientific journals for the past four years.

IFT’s four Presidents [6]—from left, Past President Philip Nelson, President Mark McLellan, President-Elect Ann Hollingsworth, and President Elect II Herbert Stone—posed for a photo after the Opening Event.

At the Executive Committee meeting on the Friday prior to the Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee, among other things, approved Anaheim as the site for the 2009 IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo and Chicago as the site in 2010. As a result, beginning in 2007, the Annual Meeting + Food Expo will be held in Chicago every three years instead of the current four. Chicago continues to be the strongest venue for the Annual Meeting with regard to member and guest attendance as well as exhibitor participation. President McLellan described IFT’s five-year goals during the Executive Committee meeting [7] and [8].

At the IFT Council meeting on Saturday, elections were held for Councilor Representatives to the Executive Committee and members of the Committee on Nominations and Elections. Candidates for President-Elect and for Membership Representatives to the Executive Committee were also elected. Shown in [9] and [10] are Ronald Schmidt, Chair of the Council Issues and Agenda Committee, calling for a vote and Councilors voting. Mary Wagner [11] presented her Treasurer’s report during the Council meeting. President McLellan presented a plaque to Michael Doyle [12] and the other members whose three-year terms on the Executive Committee were expiring.

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At the Foundation Board meeting on Saturday, Foundation Chair John Ruff [13], to the right of Vice President, Finance & Administration Michael Cernauskas, explained to board members Susan Harlander and Danny Strickland [14] the importance of IFT member financial support. Foundation Treasurer Al Clausi [15] seconded the initiative.

At the New Officers Workshop [16], IFT Director of Information Services Paul Grassman [17]spoke about IFT’s electronic communications. Among the attendees was IFT’s new Executive Vice President Barbara Byrd Keenan [18].

About 130 chief food officials attended the Partnership for Growth meeting on Sunday (see sidebar on p. 34). During the luncheon following the meeting, Betsy Holden, Co-CEO of Kraft Foods Inc. and President and Chief Executive Officer of Kraft Foods North America, spoke on the important role the food industry plays in dealing with a wide scope of societal issues.

 At the Career Development Workshop, keynote speaker Joan Lloyd [19] discussed current workplace issues. Following her presentation, the participants broke into small groups for discussion, where Jonathon Merkle [20]discussed meeting career goals in the international arena.

Technical Program
The Technical Program, which began on Sunday morning and continued through noon on Wednesday, featured 1,739 presentations on all aspects of food science and technology and its related disciplines. There were 63 symposia, 24 oral technical sessions with 223 papers, 43 poster sessions with 1,061 papers (61% of the total presentations), 3 Hot Topic sessions, 9 forums, 6 Division Lectures, 1 New Products & Technologies session, and 4 video theater sessions. The presentation on Tetra Recart retortable paperboard carton by Jeff Kellar of Tetra Pak, Inc., was rated the best of the New Products & Technologies presentations.

At the forum on IFT Grant Success Stories, David Golden [21] described the University of Tennessee’s experiences as one of three universities receiving an IFT grant to increase the diversity of the pipeline filling academic, government, and industry positions in the processed food sector.

Allison Yates [22] discussed Dietary Reference Intakes during the forum on “DRI Macronutrient Report: Implications for the Food Industry.”

Division Lectures
Food Chemistry Division Lecturer R.E. Wrolstad [23] discussed the chemistry and analysis of anthocyanin pigments. Aquatic Food Products Division Lecturer Joe Regenstein [24] addressed total utilization of fin fish.

Bruce German [25] discussed the role of agriculture and genomics in delivering individualized health through food, during the symposium on Chemistry and analysis of phytochemicals or plant bioactive materials.

At the President’s Forum [26] and [27], President McLellan met with IFT Fellows and 50-year members to expose them to the Strategic Plan; describe the relationship between IFT and the IFT Foundation; and identify the need for support of the IFT Foundation.

Participants at the Leadership Forum [28] gave feedback to President McLellan on the relationship between IFT and the IFT Foundation.

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Other Activities
Continuing Education

Ten continuing education programs were presented on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Annual Meeting. The topics included high-potency sweeteners, food engineering fundamentals, international regulations, bioterrorism, due diligence, quality systems, new product development, advanced product development, confectionery ingredients, and product sensory maintenance. Yen-Con Hung [29] explained the role of shelf-life testing in the development of new products.

Food Donations
After Food Expo closed at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, exhibitors donated 9,850 lb of product to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a partner of America’s Second Harvest hunger-relief organization. That amount—providing more than 7,400 meals for Chicago’s hungry men, women, and children—brings the total donated from Food Expo exhibitors over the past six years to 93,850 lb.

Freeman Companies and Sullivan Transfer donated their time and labor to collect and transfer the food items donated.

Phi Tau Sigma Anniversary
The Phi Tau Sigma Honorary Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. At its annual breakfast meeting on Wednesday, the society granted a charter to the new Puerto Rico Chapter. Shown from left in [30] are Maria L. Plaza, U. of Puerto Rico; Juan Silva (Phi Tau Sigma Executive Secretary), and Edna Negron de Bravo,U. of Puerto Rico.

IUFoST World Congress
The IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo ended at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and was followed immediately by the International Union of Food Science and Technology’s 12th World Congress of Food Science and Technology,” Feeding the World—Opportunities Without Boundaries,” July 16–20. Presented by the International Union of Food Science and Technology and hosted by IFT, this year’s Congress featured plenary lectures, roundtables, symposia, and poster sessions and the announcement of the 2003 World Food Prize Laureate. Coverage of the event will appear in the October issue.

Food Expo
This year’s Food Expo featured 999 exhibitors, compared to 866 in 1999, the last time IFT met in Chicago. These exhibitors accounted for 250,000 sq ft of active exhibition space. According to the 2003 edition of Tradeshow Week® 200 magazine, IFT ranks among the 200 largest conventions in the United States.Official Post-Show Coverage

The chart at left shows the total attendance at Food Expo over the past four years. See the sidebar on p. 44 for reasons for members to attend—and companies to exhibit at—next year’s Annual Meeting + Food Expo in Las Vegas.

At the site selection meeting for next year’s Food Expo in Las Vegas, 504 companies contracted for 186,000 sq ft of exhibit space—79% of the show floor.

The photos on the next two pages are just a sampling of the many activities that attendees and exhibitors participated in on the show floor. They included such activities as displays of ingredients and equipment, food preparation by chefs, tastings, discussions, giveaways, and even a carving of an IFT logo out of mild Cheddar cheese to celebrate Sargento’s 50th anniversary.

Student Activities and Awards
IFT’s Student Association sponsored many activities at this year’s Annual Meeting, including a Fun Run to benefit the IFT Foundation, a Student Association booth manned throughout the Annual Meeting to explain student activities to Annual Meeting attendees, a Mixer and Welcome Assembly, and various competitions and awards.

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Fun Run
On Sunday morning, 140 early risers gathered in Grant Park on Chicago’s lakefront to participate in the IFT Student Association’s Third Annual Fun Run [31]. The Fun Run, organized by Megan Lang, U. of Georgia, generated approximately $10,000 for the IFT Foundation to use for IFT scholarships and fellowships.

Among the male runners, Rene Engelhardt, at right in [32], of Ross Products Div. of Abbott Laboratories came in first, with a time of 18:00 minutes, and Eric Rubendall, at left in [32], of SureBeam Corp. came in second, with 18:01 minutes. Johnny Norkus, student at Loyola Academy, came in third, with 18:56 minutes. Among the female runners, Terri Bell [33] of Balchem Encapsulates came in first, with 21:56 minutes; Amy Schauwecker from Bloomsburg, Pa., came in second, with 22:39 minutes; and Karen Oyama, of Green Garden Food Products, Inc., came in third, with 22:41 minutes. Each of these finalists received a plaque. David Michael & Co. was a Gold Level sponsor of this year’s event. Bronze Level Sponsors were Kraft Foods, Hershey, and Newly Weds Foods.

Product Development Competition
The U. of Wisconsin–Madison won this year’s IFT Student Association Product Development Competition for its development of Fruit Yo’s, which combines the nutrition of yogurt and fruit into a shelf-stable snack. Shown from left in [34] are team members Tammy Y. Lin, Daniel Paul Berg, Debby Levenson, Carolina A. Vega, Badri Narayanan, and Chinthu Tharayi Udayarajan.

Rutgers U. came in second for its development of Tom-eez, individually wrapped condiment slices consisting of a mélange of diced sweet ripe tomato, Bell peppers, pickles, minced garlic and onion, and zesty seasonings for convenient addition to sandwiches and other dishes. Shown from left in [35] are team members Rama P. Gauiraju, Fang-Ju Kuang, Olive-Jean Burrowes, Marissa Romero, Yunhong Rong, Chia-Pei Liang, Rebecca Dengrove, and Dilek Kocer). Not shown: Monica Lau, Chithra Panchapakesan, Catalin Moraru, and Didem Icoz.

Washington State U. came in third for its development of Cheezzlers, a nutritious and fun product for kids that consists of a mozzarella string cheese core with white or milk chocolate filling, and three peelable fruit-flavored “lassos” of string cheese wrapping the core. Shown from left in [36] are team members Xiaoming Liu, Christine A. Zeoli, Kirti Sharma, Tinyee Hoang, Shantanu Agarwal, Seung Yong Lim, and Elly Soeryapranata).

Other finalists were California Polytechnic State U. for Vibrance, a citrus-based antioxidant and flavoring formula for decreasing enzymatic browning of cut fruits and vegetables; Ohio State U. for Oasis, a vitamin-packed, low-calorie drink mix that rapidly dissolves to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of bottled water; and U. of Florida for Flaquitas chicken wraps™, flat, thin tortillas of chicken that can be used as a replacement for flour or corn tortillas.

The Product Development Competition is sponsored by the IFT Student Association and Masterfoods USA. The chair of this year’s competition was Laura Colby, U. of Minnesota.

Chapter of the Year Competition
The Rutgers U. student chapter of IFT was named Chapter of the Year. The award is given to the student chapter that has the most active participation at local and national levels. Seventeen chapters entered this year’s competition. Last year’s winner, North Carolina State U., placed second, and the U. of Minnesota placed third. Jon Firebaugh, North Carolina State U., was this year’s competition chair. Shown from left in [37] are Rutgers chapter chair Didem Icoz and faculty adviser Rick Ludescher.

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College Bowl Competition
The U. of Wisconsin–Madison team beat the Cornell U. team in the final round of the 19th Annual Intercollegiate Food Science and Technology College Bowl Competition. Shown from left in [38] are U. of Wisconsin–Madison team members Rachel Prososki, Janelle Young, and Chinthu Udayarajan. Not shown: Akshay Arora.

Shown from left in [39] are Cornell U. team members Madhumathi Rajagopal, J.G. Niilante Amissah, Grace Wang, Andres Ardisson-Korat, and Katherine Meyers. Not shown: Lisa Blum.

The other competing teams were Oklahoma State U. (Dharmendra Bangalore, Alissa Barett, Beryl Henry, and Jennie James); U. of Georgia (Palvi Chhabra, J. Guin Delany, Raghu Kandala, and Emily Wise); Iowa State U. (Elizabeth Gutierrez, Jasmine Kuan, Jennifer Kuesar, Kariman Koning, Elizabeth Lenihan, and Roy Santoso); and U. of California, Davis (Atsushi Maekawa, Aaron Uesugi, Robert Ward, and Gretl Winter).

General Mills, Inc. provided travel grants for each finalist team, and monetary awards to the winning team and the runnerup team. The competition chair was David Tisi, Cornell U.

Undergraduate Research Paper Competition
1st Place, Devon Cameron, U. of Arkansas; 2nd Place, Dewi Purnamasari, Louisiana State U.; 3rd Place, Ashley L. Lardizabal, U. of Nebraska-Lincoln. The competition is sponsored by the IFT Student Association, Phi Tau Sigma, and E.J. Gallo Winery. The competition chair was Parthiban Muthukumarasamy, U. of Manitoba. Shown from left in [40] are Cameron, Purnamasari, Lardizabal, Karl F. Schilke (runnerup), Oregon State; Parthiban Muthukumarasamy (competition chair), U. of Manitoba; and Juan Silva (Phi Tau Sigma Executive Secretary).

Graduate Research Paper Competition
1st place, Hang Xiao, U. of Wisconsin–Madison; 2nd place, Kathy Lai, Michigan State U; 3rd place, Sa Xu, Iowa State U. The competition is sponsored by the IFT Student Association, Phi Tau Sigma, and the Procter & Gamble Co. The competition chair was Gillian Folkes, U. of Florida. Shown from left in [41] are Xiao and Folkes.

Aquatic Foods Division Paper Competition
1st place, Rico Suhalim, U. of Georgia; 2nd place, Peng Zhou, Cornell U.; 3rd place, Kandasamy Nadaiyah, Louisiana State U. Shown from left in [42] are Suhalim, Zhou, Nadaiyah, and Joe Regenstein (Division representative).

Dairy Foods Division Paper
1st place, Mary Carunchia Whetstine, North Carolina State U.; 2nd place, Bogdan Zisu, Victoria U.; 3rd place, Kirti Sharma, Washington State U. Shown from left in [43] are Whetstine, Zisu Sharma, Rodrigo R. Roesch (runnerup), U. of Guelph, Canada; Sa Xu (Runnerup), Iowa State U.; and Stephanie Clark (competition chair), Washington State U.

Food Engineering Division Paper Competition
Winners, Chia-Hua Hsu, U. of Maryland, and Kelly Ross, Purdue U. Shown from left in [44] are Hsu, and Brian Farkas (competition chair), North Carolina State U.

Food Microbiology Division Paper Competitions
John C. Ayres Poster Competition: 1st place, Nanditha Gande, Oklahoma State U.; 2nd place, Seok Andy Heo, U. of Arkansas; 3rd place, Alissa Wesche, Michigan State U. Z. John Ordal Oral Competition: 1st place, Thomas Taylor, North Carolina State U.; 2nd place, Stephenie Lynn Drake, North Carolina State U.; 3rd place, Beatrice Ayebah, U. of Georgia. Shown from left in [45] are Drake, Ayebah, Peter M. Muriana (competition chair), Gande, and Heo.

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Nonthermal Processing Division Paper Competition
1st place, Jose J. Rodriguez, Washington State U.; 2nd place, Jazmin Serrano, Oregon State U. Shown from left in [46] are Rodriguez, Serrano, Songming Zhu (runnerup), McGill U., Stephanie Sheryl Briggs (runnerup), McGill U., Eduardo Patazca (runnerup), Illinois Institute of Technology; Brian Parisi (runnerup), Illinois Institute of Technology; and V.M. Balasubramaniam (competition chair).

Toxicology and Safety Evaluation Division Paper Competition
1st place, Soohyoun Ahn, Cornell U.; 2nd place, Soon-Mi Shim, Purdue U., and Priyadarshini Gadgil, Kansas State U. Shown from left in [47] are Shim and Julie Nordlee (competition chair).

Product Development Division Paper Competition
1st place, Yean Hoong Teh, U. of Maine; 2nd place, Esra Capanoglu, Istanbul Technical U.; 3rd place, Kendra P. Matthews, North Carolina A&T State U. Shown from left in [48] are Teh, Capanoglu, Matthews, and Keshun Liu (Division chair-elect).

Sensory Evaluation Division (Rose Marie Pangborn) Paper Competition
1st place, Rachel Borland Liggett, Ohio State U.; 2nd place, Amanda Heffelfinger, Ohio State U.; 3rd place, Rui Xiong, U. of Arkansas. Shown from left in [49] are Liggett and Louise Campbell (competition chair).

Food Chemistry Division Paper Competition
1st place, Veronica Galindo-Cuspinera; 2nd place, Bradley W. Bolling, U. of Wisconsin–Madison; 3rd place, Amanda L. Schober, Pennsylvania State U. Shown from left in [50] are Bolling, Schober, and E. Allen Foegeding (Division chair).

Nutrition Division Paper Competition
1st place Chi Kong Yeung, Cornell U., and Theobald Mosha, Michigan State; 3rd place, Jie Sun, Cornell U. Shown from left in [51] are Yeung, Mosha, Sun, and Susan E. Berkow (competition chair).

Muscle Foods Division Paper Competition
1st place, Lauren Sammel, U. of Wisconsin–Madison; 2nd place, Joseph Sawdy, Ohio State U.; 3rd place, Dharshini Nadarajah, U. of Manitoba. Shown from left in [52] are Sammel, Sawdy, and Oscar Esquivel (competition chair).

Food Packaging Division Paper Competition
1st place, Matthew D.Steven, Cornell U.; 2nd place, Loretta Crook, Iowa State U., 3rd place, Shih-Yu (Daniel) Lin, U. of California–Davis, and Ghadeer Mehyar, U. of Manitoba. Shown from left in [53] are Steven and Lin.

Achievement Awards
At the Welcome Assembly following the student mixer sponsored by PepsiCo on Monday evening, the Student Association honored 25 student chapter members who made outstanding contributions to the success of their chapter. The awards, sponsored by Campbell Soup Co. and coordinated by Student Association Membership Chair Adriana Velasquez, U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, consist of a plaque recognizing the student’s contributions to the Student Association and cash applicable to his or her IFT Annual Meeting registration.

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Shown in front row in [54] are, from left, Diana Lee, U. of California, Davis; Nikkisha Young, North Carolina State U.; Sofia Erazo-Castejon, U. of Wisconsin; Jia Wee, U. of Minnesota; Baofang Liu, U. of Massachusetts; Christy Maurin, U. of Idaho; and Jelena Stojanovic, Mississippi State U.. Shown in back row are, from left, Lisa Shippelt, U. of Alberta; Emily Wise, U. of Georgia; Amy Hoyle, Oklahoma State U.; Andrea Molengraft, Michigan State U.; Mike Lesiak, Campbell Soup Co. representative; Adriana Velasquez, U. of Nebraska; Rita Lipscomb, Alabama A&M U.; Kit Meyers, Cornell U.; and Karen Robinson, U. of Illinois. Not shown: Bharani Ashokan, Rutgers U.; Michelle Farrington, U. of Maryland; Richard Francolino, U. of Delaware; Valerie Gorsuch, Virginia Tech; Jessica Huber, U. of Kentucky; Hilary Hursh, Penn State U.; Lauren O’Kelley, U. of Florida; Katie Marie Schott, Texas A&M U.; Siow Ying Tan, Louisiana State U.; and Anne-Chrystelle Wasselin, Washington State U.

Student Association Executive Committee
The Student Association Executive Committee met during the Annual Meeting. Shown from left in [55] are Alberto Sun, Western Area Representative; Steve Kenney, Southeast Area Representative; Ashley Lardizabal, North Central Area Representative; Kevin Wright, Midwest Area Representative; Jaime Rudolf, President-Elect; Jonathan Gray, Past-President; Amanda Lathrop, President; Kristine Lukasik, Secretary; and Krista Kay Schneider, South Central Area Representative. Not shown: Linda Pravinata, North Atlantic Area Representative.

Exhibitor button program
The Student Association introduced a Student–Exhibitor Button program to encourage increased interaction between students and exhibitors during Food Expo. Exhibitors wearing the button signaled their willingness to talk to students about the industry, their company, and their career experiences.

Keynoter Thompson seeks industry help
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G.Thompson asked food scientists for help in ensuring a safer, healthier food supply during his keynote address at the Opening Session. “All of us need to make sure that Americans eat safe foods in healthy portions and healthy varieties,” he said.

Thompson thanked members of IFT and professionals throughout the food industry who have helped the U.S. develop policies and strategies to prevent and mitigate possible terrorist attacks on the food supply. He called on them to continue to apply their scientific knowledge to make the food supply more secure.

There is another battle Thompson hopes the food industry will assist him with here at home—fighting the obesity and diabetes epidemics sweeping the nation. He applauded companies that have taken steps to improve the health of Americans, and encouraged others to follow their lead. He said he looks forward to working with them to make Americans healthier, stronger, and more informed to make healthy choices.

“We have some problems, problems we can avoid by changing our lifestyles, and that’s why I’m here, to ask for your help,” he said. “We’re gaining weight and losing life, particularly quality of life. We need to lose weight and gain life.”

—Sara Langen, Assistant Editor

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Chief food officials explore industry opportunities and challenges
For the sixth year in a row, the Institute of Food Technologists held a special session for chief food research and policy officials in government, industry, and academia during the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo® in Chicago, Ill. More than 150 invited chief food officials attended the session, making it the most successful meeting for this group to date.

The “Partnership for Growth” session on July 13, 2003, was moderated by David Macnair (shown at podium), Vice President of Global Research & Development at Campbell Soup Co. and Chair of the Chief Food Officials Committee. IFT President Mark McLellan welcomed the attendees.

John W. Bode of Olsson, Frank, and Weeda then provided an update on “The Current Legislative Scene.” Bode, a former Assistant Secretary for Food and Consumer Services with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and a longtime IFT consultant, summarized the political climate and congressional activities with regard to several hot topic areas, including allergen labeling, country-of-origin labeling, biotechnology, obesity and other health conditions, enforcement authorities, and food safety research needs. He said that the extensive debate in these areas will, however, most likely influence only modest changes in the law. He predicted that the most likely areas for new laws will be allergen labeling and country-of-origin labeling.

Robert E. Brackett of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition spoke on “Food Security—What’s Next!” As CFSAN’s Director of Food Safety and Security, he is in charge of overseeing all aspects of food safety across the broad range of FDA’s responsibilities. He summarized food security challenges from 2002 and the significant progress that was made within the past year. These included improved test methods and testing capacity, in conjunction with new certified Food Emergency Response Network laboratories. Security clearances, although improved, continue to be a challenge with groups outside the agency, he said. In addition, progress has been made in the areas of document classification, sharing sensitive information, and measuring effectiveness. Currently, information obtained from vulnerability assessments are leading to countermeasures. He also spoke about the critical need for awareness by government and industry of the possible role of foods used as a vehicle for terrorism.

Gerald Moy of the Dept. of Food Safety at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, discussed “Acrylamide.” As Senior Staff Scientist, he has general responsibility for the risk assessment and management of chemicals in food. He stressed the need for toxicological data with regard to the mechanism of toxicity, epidemiological data, bioavailability of acrylamide in foods, and other areas.

David Allison of the University of Alabama at Birmingham addressed “Obesity: Knowledge, False Beliefs, and Ignorance.” Director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Center in the Dept. of Nutritional Sciences and Professor & Head of the Section on Statistical Genetics in the Dept. of Biostatistics, he discussed three major areas of controversy: the effects of diets with different macronutrient composition, the fitness vs fatness pseudo-controversy, and obesity prevention with regard to early childhood, schools, and physical education. The long-term effects of diet composition on weight and health are unclear, he said. He commented that both fitness and fatness are important factors and have independent effects on mortality. Regarding obesity prevention, he mentioned the need for lifelong environmental changes. He added that schools may not be the best possible means for change, at least as the only method of target. One area may be television watching by children.

A panel of food officials then addressed “BioPharming: Industry Perspectives and Roundtable Discussion.” Martina McGloughlin, Director of the Systemwide Biotechnology Research and Education Program at the University of California, Davis, talked about the role of biopharming—production of pharmaceuticals by plants—in creating innovative treatments for diseases such as cancer, HIV, heart disease, autoimmune-related diseases, and many others. She stressed that the success of biopharming is predicated on strong, transparent regulations coupled with industry-wide commitment to stewardship.

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Rhona Applebaum, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer at the National Food Processors Association, discussed the importance of maintaining zero tolerance regarding biopharming crops’ getting into the food supply, and she reiterated the food industry’s goal of safe, wholesome, unadulterated food and food ingredients. She discussed NFPA’s interest in working with all stakeholders to review the effectiveness of current practices of containment and to ensure the necessary regulations are in place to eliminate the risk of contamination to the food supply.

Philip Eppard, Regulatory Affairs Lead for Monsanto Protein Technologies, addressed the company’s rigorous system for developing and producing therapeutic proteins. This includes Containment Analysis Critical Control Points (CACCP.) Monsanto’s closed-loop production system for plant-made pharmaceuticals, which is entirely outside commodity grain systems, means there is no crossover of facilities, critical equipment, or personnel.

The session concluded with a luncheon and a keynote speech by Betsy Holden (shown in photo) on “Staying Connected with Public Expectations.” Co-CEO of Kraft Foods Inc. and President and Chief Executive Officer of Kraft Foods North America, Holden spoke on three major areas of corporate responsibility: corporate governance, support for the community, and engagement in key societal issues. She spoke of the importance of a company’s culture and code of conduct and the need for compliance and integrity systems to be put in place. She mentioned support for the community as the most traditional and visible way for a company to meet public expectations. Kraft provides $35 million in annual financial support to the community, she said. She stressed the value of not just giving money and getting credit, but giving it well—in support of sustainable solutions. Holden discussed the need to engage in significant societal issues, such as obesity. She said that the food industry must play a role, since food is part of the equation and needs to be a part of the solution. She concluded by summarizing Kraft’s initiative on obesity in the areas of product nutrition, market practices, consumer information, and advocacy and dialogue.

—Jennifer MacAulay, IFT Staff Scientist

See you next year in Las Vegas
IFT’s 2004 Annual Meeting + Food Expo will be held in Las Vegas, Nev., on Monday through Thursday, July 12–16. Las Vegas offers advantages for both attendees and exhibitors.

Reasons for members to attend
Las Vegas offers many advantages for attendees in addition to the professional advantages:
• Weekday schedule. Unlike in previous years, next year’s Annual Meeting + Food Expo will be held on Monday through Friday. Attendees will benefit from invitingly priced mid-week airline savings.

• Excellent accommodations. First-class, recently renovated accommodations are available at attractive savings. IFT has contracted with four Las Vegas hotels, two of which offer room rates of less than $100. Bring the family!

• Best airport. McCarran International Airport is considered the best airport in the U.S., according to J.D. Powers and Associates.

• Convenient transportation. Transit time from IFT official hotels to the Las Vegas Convention Center via IFT’s free shuttle is 11 minutes or less. In addition, the new Las Vegas monorail will connect all official IFT hotels to the Convention Center, resulting in lower cost than taxi service and more frequent stops than shuttle service.

• Coupons. All paid hotel guests will receive a free 2-for-1 coupon book with dining and other offers at official IFT hotels, plus free accommodations on a return visit to the hotel in December 2004 (except New Year’s Eve).

• Free reception. There will be a free reception, including entertainment, at each official IFT hotel on the last night of the meeting.

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Reasons to exhibit next year
Las Vegas offers exhibitors many advantages in addition to those listed above:
• High attendance. Whenever the Annual Meeting + Food Expo comes to the West Coast, attendance surges upward, particularly from Western states.

• Lower labor costs. Convention Center labor costs in Las Vegas are less expensive than in most major cities.

• More show floor traffic. Data from Exhibit Surveys Inc. indicate that the trade show industry average number of hours spent on the show floor was 8.52 in Anaheim, 9.28 in Chicago, and 11.02 in Las Vegas. Also, Las Vegas attractions are open later, removing the pressure for attendees to leave the show floor.

• Excellent accommodations. The capacity of Las Vegas hotels permits all booth staff to stay at one hotel, further reducing costs.

• World-class dining. Las Vegas offers many fine dining options for your best customers.

More information on next year’s IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo is available at

by Neil H. Mermelstein

About the Author

IFT Fellow
Editor Emeritus of Food Technology
[email protected]
Neil Mermelstein