Herbert Stone

Food Safety Focus at Upcoming Meeting & Expo
Our 65th IFT Annual Meeting + FOOD EXPO®, which will take place July 16-20 in New Orleans, La., promises to be one of our best events ever. In addition to the many technical oral and poster sessions, symposia, forums, New Products & Technologies sessions, and video presentations, various other new types of events are scheduled.

One is the addition of an International Food Safety & Quality Conference on the last day of the meeting. This full-day conference will focus on “Challenges to International Trade” and will feature tracks on infectious animal diseases, food defense/food security, and international regulations, policies, and standardization issues.

Several infectious animal diseases, such as avian influenza (bird flu) and BSE (mad cow disease), are having an impact on the economies of several nations and raising concerns about the safety of the global food supply. David Swayne, Laboratory Director and Research Leader at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, will discuss “Avian Influenza: Food Safety Issues and Mitigation Strategies.” Paul Clayton, Vice President of Export Services, U.S. Meat Export Federation, will address “Experiences in International Trade Negotiations.” And another speaker, to be announced, will cover BSE and the synergy between science, public opinion, consumer confidence, and regulatory actions.

Since 9/11, the threat of terrorism against the United States has increased exponentially. The nation’s food supply is at risk for a potential attack, which could involve biological, chemical, radiological, or physical agents. Richard Linton, Food Science Professor and Director of the Center for Food Safety Engineering at Purdue University, will present “The Use of Computer Modeling Approaches to Improve Decision-making.” IFT’s Cory Bryant and Jennifer McEntire will discuss “A Risk-Ranking Framework Addressing Microbiological and Chemical Food Safety Concerns: Emphasizing Intentional Contamination with Potentially Large Adverse Consequences.”

Food safety risks vary greatly among nations as a result of differences in technological prowess, food production practices, culture, and geography or climate. This issue will become more acute as global food trade increases in response to expanding per-capita income, improved transportation, and population growth. Charles Manley, Vice President of Science & Technology, Takasago International Corp., will address “Changes in European Flavoring—Safety Evaluations within the European Union and the Impact on Europe and the U.S.” Jill Hollingsworth, Vice President of Food Safety Programs at the Food Marketing Institute, will discuss “Understanding International Supplier Certification and the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program.” SQF relies on the principles of HAACP, Codex, ISO, and Quality Management Systems. And another speaker will tackle “How China is Meeting International and Domestic Standardization Issues.”

The conference also has garnered a special luncheon speaker—Dr. Robert Tauxe from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will speak on “Innovations in Public Health: Surveillance and Outbreaks.”

In addition to the conference, the Annual Meeting technical program will feature several symposia and technical sessions related to food safety. Topics include pathogen detection and control, food irradiation, food defense, and food–drug interactions.

On the show floor at Food Expo, a special area will house the International Food Safety & Quality Pavilion. This exhibition area will host about 40 companies offering products and services ranging from analytical instruments, independent testing, and environmental sampling to online analyzers, sanitation audits, and test kits for allergens, GMOs, and toxins.

While food safety will be prominently featured at the upcoming meeting and exposition, it’s only part of many new offerings planned for New Orleans. In a State-of-the-Food-Industry Forum, several food industry leaders will discuss how processors are adapting their product development strategies to address the just-published 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. New non-technical programs will offer advice on retirement planning, selecting and tasting wine like and expert, and improving your project management skills.

This year’s Annual Meeting + Food Expo is a great and effective way to keep abreast of technical developments, source new suppliers, learn about the latest food-related scientific research around the globe, and participate in and reconnect with your community of food scientists and technologists.

Peruse the IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo attendee registration kit that accompanies this issue of Food Technology or visit www.am-fe.ift.org for up-to-date information or to register online.

I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans in July!

IFT President, 2004–05
President, Tragon Corp.
Redwood City, Calif.
[email protected]