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IFT has a membership as diverse as the food system itself. Some members are food scientists. Others are professionals specializing in product development, quality control, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, basic and applied research, or teaching and technology transfer. And some are focused on directing food processing plants, brand management, marketing, technical sales, or have executive management functions. IFT seeks to represent this diverse group of professionals dedicated to advancing the science of food.
Members join IFT to make personal connections and network with like-minded people, to establish and expand their professional horizons, to enhance their careers, and to gain access to individuals involved in the many areas of food science and technology, and finally, to identify current trends and future advancements. IFT membership and IFT’s community of professionals can help each one of us meet our personal and professional goals.
Many IFT members are actively involved in our Divisions and our regional Sections. Many engage in activities such as the annual Strategic Leadership Forum and Town Hall meeting. Some members participate regularly in the world-renowned IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo.
Once valuable connections are made, members can access the IFT Membership Directory, an online resource providing useful contact information. Other resources help members locate suppliers and service providers.
IFT provides its members access to the scientific information they need through award-winning publications such as Food Technology and through high-quality, peer-reviewed publications such as the Journal of Food Science and its online sister journals, Journal of Food Science Education and Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Online newsletters, including IFT Weekly News and ExpressConnect, provide timely information to our membership. Finally, our members have 24-hr access to our Web site at ift.org.
Expert reports and scientific status summaries also arm our members with the latest science on topics of interest. Our scientific status summaries are peer-reviewed reports that assess the current state of knowledge on timely issues.
By serving as a voice for food science and technology professionals, IFT supports science-based public policy and works closely with a variety of national and international coalitions and organizations to address food safety, defense, regulations, and other food-related issues.
IFT may also enhance your career through continuing education programs, employment services, volunteer leadership opportunities, achievement awards, and programs designed for students and young professionals. IFT’s year-round continuing education and learning experiences present unbiased and credible perspectives, keep you scientifically current, help sharpen your technical skills, and provide opportunities for professional development and success. Employment services include the Online Career Center and Employment Bureau.
Volunteer leadership opportunities allow IFT members to contribute their talent, time, energy, and ideas, and to make a difference on a larger scale within our community and beyond. Professional members can also nominate themselves or a colleague for an elected position at the national level.
The IFT Student Association continues to attract our emerging leaders and showcases programs each year at the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, including the Product Development Competition, College Bowl, and in concert with the IFT Foundation, the annual Fun Run. In addition, IFT has recently organized a growing community for New Professionals with nearly 300 participants to date.
Members also have an opportunity to support IFT financially through its Foundation. By doing so, members support the future of food science and our profession through much-needed programs for student recruitment and student scholarships, innovative efforts to educate policy makers, the media and the public, and much more.
I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and forward-looking organization, and thankful to be a member of such a diverse and active community of professionals. Over the years, IFT has provided me with timely and cutting-edge science, has given me the chance to network with the best and brightest in our profession, and has afforded me the luxury of good friends and trusted colleagues who helped me grow professionally and personally. Over the years, IFT forced me to see the bigger picture, to think beyond my own needs, and to become better. I could not ask for anything more.
by John D. Floros,
IFT President, 2007–08
Professor and Head, Food Science Dept.,
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.