I attended the International Union of Food Science and Technology’s 13th World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Nantes, France, on September 17–21 and found that IFT is respected as a leader in our field by organizations from 62 countries belonging to IUFoST.
This respect is evident in many ways, including the election of IFT Past President David R. Lineback as 2006–08 President of IUFoST and the fact that several other IFT members also are active and hold leadership positions in the organization. IFT is the largest adhering body of IUFoST, and the IFT president and immediate six past presidents serve as the IUFoST liaison board.
Continued participation in IUFoST and its World Congresses and expanded IFT member involvement will help IFT achieve its long-range goals:
• IFT will be its members’ primary indispensable resource for food science and technology programs, services, and experience worldwide. Although this goal is accomplished in part by the diverse worldwide membership base of IFT, the effective and efficient delivery of programs and services to members outside the United States continues to remain a challenge.
IUFoST and its World Congresses offer additional channels for reaching food science colleagues with research information and programs in different regions of the world, providing a unique insight into the challenges associated with delivery of adequate nutrition to the populations in developing countries.
Although IFT’s International Division currently promotes programming on these issues, IUFoST offers an additional opportunity for reaching food science professionals in developing countries. An initiative by IFT to encourage increased involvement of IFT members from the U.S. in IUFoST and future World Congresses could contribute significantly to achievement of this long-range goal.
• IFT will be the effective advocate for sound science in developing food-related public policy. A challenging dimension of food-related public policy is differences in food regulations around the world. Although there are increased efforts to harmonize regulations, any difference in the interpretation of new science by scientists from different countries continues to create confusion. Many presentations during the World Congress highlighted examples where differing interpretation of the same research exists.
The World Congresses provide an outstanding forum for discussion and interpretation of the research to be advocate of sound science, and would enable IFT to assume a more prominent leadership role in global regulations. considered in harmonization of food regulations.
Through increased discussion of new research results by IFT members at future World Congresses with scientists from other countries, the science used in development of food-related public policy could be more consistent around the world. These activities would contribute directly to IFT’s goal of being an effective advocate of sound science, and would enable IFT to assume a more prominent leadership role in global regulations.
• IFT will achieve significant public recognition and advancement of the profession of food science and technology. Distinct differences in the definition of "food science" exist among food scientists from various regions of the world. These differences translate into significant changes in the curricula followed for a food science degree. IFT has a well-established system for development of standard curricula and guidelines, and experience in the evaluation of programs offering food science degrees.
Through expanded involvement of IFT members in IUFoST and future World Congresses, IFT would gain greater recognition for advancement of the food science and technology profession worldwide. This involvement would ensure that IFT remains a leader in the international evolution of the food science profession.
• IFT will be the "go to" authoritative and credible resource worldwide for food science and technology information. The most significant purpose of the World Congress is the presentation and discussion of food science research. The program this year included more than 1,000 papers sharing some of the most cutting-edge research in food science and technology. Future involvement of IFT members from the U.S. is critical for demonstrating the quality of U.S.-based food science research. These opportunities to discuss research with the leading researchers from other regions of the world help to ensure that IFT is viewed as an authoritative and credible resource for food science and technology information.
I encourage IFT members to participate in the 14th World Congress in Shanghai, China, on October 19–24, 2008. For more information, see www.iufost.org.
by Dennis R. Heldman,
IFT President, 2006–07
President, Heldman Associates,