Sheri Schellhaass

In an era of increasing globalization in the food industry, IFT has revisited and reevaluated our presence in the global community. More than ever before, IFT can contribute to the uniformity of quality and safety standards in the global food trade, provide commentary on science-based decision-making in international public policy and regulatory issues, and enhance food safety and sufficiency worldwide. By developing a comprehensive global strategy, IFT is able to address these issues with confidence through programs and partnerships that reflect our strategic goals.

According to the 2008 IFT Member Survey, members are requesting more information on global food science, more information about complying with government regulations across different countries, and more international member involvement. And a percentage of these members would like to see IFT events hosted outside of the United States. Additionally, IFT has entertained requests for international membership categories as well as multiple requests for partnerships and alliances.

While listening to our members and others within the profession, and remaining true to IFT’s global goal of ensuring a safe and abundant food supply for healthier people everywhere, IFT is continuing to establish a global presence. As a Global Citizen and Partner, we are proactively contributing to and being a partner for the global advancement and application of the science of food. Last fall, IFT formed the Global Strategy Advisory Panel charged with developing and defining IFT’s global strategy, including the identification of our key priorities in this global environment.

These panel members have gained insight from IFT members in the U.S. and abroad on how IFT can uniquely position itself as a global science leader and provide value and support to the global food science and technology profession. I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity to review the panel’s recommendations within their final report to the Board of Directors this fall.

As part of our ongoing global strategy, IFT continues to partner with a number of prestigious organizations from around the globe, including the Chinese Institute of Food Science & Technology (CIFST). CIFST and IFT have jointly published Global Food Industry, a quarterly magazine that premiered at our Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in Anaheim.

Codex remains a cornerstone of IFT’s global outreach efforts. IFT Codex Subject Experts represent IFT in the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses. IFT has made significant contributions to deliberations on the definition of dietary fiber, and will address other topics and issues like the identification of methods fitting the dietary fiber definition, nutrient reference values, and global strategy on diet, physical activity, and health.

We value our collaborative partnership with The Latin American and Caribbean Association of Food Science and Technology (ALACCTA). Last October, I was fortunate to deliver a talk at ALACCTA’s XV LAC Seminar in Bello Horizonte, Brazil.

Many of our global activities culminated during the recent Annual Meeting & Food Expo. IFT worked with the U.S. Trade Development Agency to host a delegation from India. ALACCTA also held a reception during the Annual Meeting and jointly sponsored a technical session with the International Division.

IFT’s fourth International Food Nanoscience Conference took place Saturday, June 6, in Anaheim. A number of you also participated in the Global Food Safety and Quality Conference on Wednesday, June 10, in Anaheim.

In addition, IFT participates in international meetings with our global partners. In support of the 50th anniversary of IFT’s Japan Section, IFT Past President John Floros presented to the section and students of Tokyo Agricultural University.

I recently presented the Binsted Lecture for the British Section of IFT. The lecture, part of a seminar offered in cooperation with the Society of Chemical Industry and the Institute of Food Science and Technology, focused primarily on the latest developments and views on nanotechnology in the U.S.

Today, there is undoubtedly greater consumer awareness and involvement in the global food system. There are changing nutritional needs throughout the world. There is a heightened demand for a safe and sustainable food supply, increased global competition and demands in the international food market, and renewed focus on health, wellness, and nutrition. While our food system continues to face serious challenges, and we’re positioned to efficiently meet the demands that consumers rightfully place on the food industry, IFT will embrace its pivotal position in the global arena.

Sheri Schellhaass,
IFT President, 2008–09
Vice President of Research and Development, General Mills, Minneapolis, Minn.
[email protected]