Margaret A. Lawson

The Institute of Food Technologists is a powerful voice and force within the global food science community. We are aware of the global realities prevalent today, and understand that we are the scientists who have the expertise and ability to generate and share technology to improve the world’s food supply.

As the leading voice worldwide for the food science and technology profession, IFT is committed to:
• Engaging the food science profession in a prestigious, active forum for the free exchange of ideas and knowledge.

• Promoting policies that are rooted in sound science and consistent with the public interest.

• Identifying emerging trends affecting the delivery of safe and nutritious foods.

The 1st International Congress of Food Science and Technology took place in London in 1962 and was attended by 1,200 scientists and technologists from more than 40 countries. Their mission was “to promote and foster international cooperation in food science and technology,” which is not unlike the focus of IFT’s current global partnerships.

Here are some of the things we have been doing internationally:
In November 2004, under the leadership of then-President Herbert Stone, IFT co-organized the third IFT/Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology Summit on “Cooperation and Opportunities Across Borders and Cultures.” The summit sought to advance new ideas for science and technology, and strategies to further facilitate and encourage international trade and collaboration in all arenas of the food industry. Preliminary discussions are underway for the fourth summit in 2006.

In July 2005, the IFT Annual Meeting was once again selected by the World Food Prize Foundation as the forum of choice to announce this year’swinner—Modadugu V. Gupta—to the food science community. The World Food Prize is “the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.”

Also at the IFT Annual Meeting this year, IFT leadership met with a number of noteworthy organizations to further expand our programmatic partnerships. Those organizations included the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology, the Japanese Delegation, the Lebanese Delegation, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and the Thai Delegation. Other important partnership discussions have taken place with the Food Safety Institute of the Americas and the Fujian Province Quarantine Bureau.

Last year, IFT was asked by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to take a more active role in Codex Alimentarius, the international food-standards-setting organization. Codex guidelines and codes of practice are especially important to those involved in international trade through Codex’s relationship with the World Trade Organization and the recognition of Codex as the international food standards benchmark.

Participating as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) and guided by IFT’s Global Regulations and Policy Committee, IFT provides valuable scientific and technical input into the Codex Committees on Food Additives and Contaminants, Food Hygiene, Food Labeling, General Principles, Methods of Analysis and Sampling, Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, and Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Foods, and the Task Force on Foods Derived from Biotechnology. Issues of interest and significance to the work of IFT members include biotechnology labeling, nutrition and health claims, antibiotic resistance, traceability/product tracing, general standards for food additives, and principles for risk analysis.

In addition, IFT and the IFT Foundation have signed a Memo of Understanding with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition Foundation. GAIN works to improve nutrition in developing countries through the fortification of locally produced and consumed staple foods.

As IFT President, I accepted an invitation from the Latin American and Caribbean Association of Food Science and Technology (ALACCTA) to speak at Innova 2005 in Montevideo, Uruguay, in late September. The symposium was sponsored by the International Union of Food Science and Technology and national universities and research centers. The objective of the symposium was to open a permanent and periodic forum for the discussion and analysis of food development trends to promote regional industry competitiveness. My presentation was on “Invisible Borders in the New World—The Impact of Globalization on Dinner.”

I will also represent IFT in November in London as the Binsted Lecturer at a symposium sponsored by the IFT British Section, the Institute of Food Science and Technology, and the Society of Chemical Industry.

During my presidential year and beyond, I will work on behalf of IFT to continue the tradition and mission of the 1st International Congress of Food Science and Technology, by promoting and fostering international cooperation in food science and technology.

by Margaret A. Lawson,
IFT President, 2005–06
Technical Services Manager, T. Hasegawa USA, Cerritos, Calif.
[email protected]