Margaret A. Lawson

I have been honored to serve as your IFT President over the past year. In my final President’s Message, I would like to take you through a brief review of some of our key accomplishments this year that were championed by you, our members, the colleagues you elected to serve as IFT leaders, and the IFT staff.

Global Presence. Fulfilling our role in the global community, we welcomed representatives from the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology to discuss our upcoming IFT/CIFST Summit in Xiamen, a potential joint publishing venture, and IFT operational best practices. We also renewed a close relationship with La Asociación Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos (ALACCTA) that led to the joint Global Food Safety and Quality Conference at our recent IFT Annual Meeting. And IFT members again participated in Codex committee meetings.

Sound Science. IFT has continued as the bastion of scientific integrity through ongoing publication of scientific research reports, participation in coalitions, collaboration with domestic and international organizations and enhancements to the technical programming at our Annual Meeting.

IFT members and staff provided testimony for Congressional hearings, commented on scientific aspects of proposed federal regulations, and provided input to federal and international advisory bodies.

IFT commissioned scientific panels to issue Expert Reports on various subjects. The most recent report, "Antimicrobial Resistance Implications for the Food System," was released at the IFT Annual Meeting. Also released during the year was a Scientific Status Summary on mycotoxins, and soon to be released are Scientific Status Summaries on organics, nanotechnology, and packaging.

IFT continues to remain connected with other organizations around the globe to make the promotion of a safe, affordable, accessible, and nutritious food supply worldwide a reality. IFT has participated in partnership activities with the World Congress of Food Science and Technology and World Food Summits, CIFST, ALACCTA, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, International Food Information Service, Fujian Province Quarantine Bureau, Dutch Embassy, Food Safety Institute of the Americas, Partnership for Food Safety Education, Research Chefs Association, Grocery Manufacturers of America, and the International Symposium on Food Development and Innovation, and others.

Scientific Program. The Annual Meeting Scientific Program Task Force transformed the scientific program this year into the most engaging and cutting-edge technical program to date. For the first time, themed sessions on food allergens, bioterrorism, globalization, and functional foods were included within our dynamic programming.

Online Elections. Under the leadership of our Committee on Nominations and Elections through our online nominations process, we increased our pool of qualified candidates for national elections by five times over the previous year. Thirteen Divisions, 10 Sections, and the IFT Student Association also took advantage of the online voting tool.

Career Guidance. Our IFT/IFT Foundation/Discovery Education program, designed to attract a new generation of bright, young professionals to enter food science, sent two multimedia resource kits, "The Science and Scientists Behind the Food" and "Careers in Food Science," to every public high school nationwide (18,000 total). The materials reached a potential student audience of 9 million, along with 38,000 school counselors and 95,000 science teachers. Every public high school across the country now has an opportunity to use food science in the classroom. The program is only one of many noteworthy initiatives being funded through the IFT Foundation’s A Taste for Science campaign.

Food Defense. This year we also further defined IFT’s role in defending the food supply. The Food and Drug Administration contracted with IFT to work on projects or task orders that resulted in the Food Terrorism Awareness Program and a series of Food Defense Awareness Workshops across the country.

Task Forces. Our Task Forces—Governance, Strategic Development, Industrial Awards, and Annual Meeting Scientific Program—the Committee on Divisions Workgroup, and the Committee on Constitution & Bylaws have all made significant progress in advancing IFT’s important work.

I am extremely proud of IFT’s accomplishments over the past year, very enthusiastic about the future of IFT, and grateful to the volunteer leaders who have spent countless hours and invested a tremendous amount of personal passion into all of their work for IFT.

by Margaret A. Lawson,
IFT President, 2005–06
Vice President, Science & Innovation, D.D. Williamson, Louisville, Ky.
[email protected]