This past year has been such a wonderful opportunity that you all have given me. The privilege of being one of IFT’s ambassadors has allowed me to meet with so many of you around the globe. I have appreciated the great honor of serving as president of the Institute of Food Technologists as we celebrated our 75th anniversary.
It has been a whirlwind for me, traveling across the United States and around the world. I have been to Argentina, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, and New Zealand, representing our members at international meetings and visiting IFT sections in the United States and abroad. Our strength is in our members, and those experiences with our members were amazing!
In September, at the Chicago Section meeting, I spoke about nutrition labeling, a subject that I wrote about in this column last month. In January, I attended an Alamo Section meeting. The next month, I visited the Florida Section, and in March, I made two trips: one to the Longhorn Section and another to the Great Lakes Section. With each stop, I met with our members, listened to their suggestions and concerns, and tried to make a difference within IFT as well as within my own organization. My company gave me the gift of time— time to appreciate what IFT and its members are doing.
Last fall in Washington, D.C., we launched the Global Food Traceability Center with the ultimate goal of providing resources and expertise to improve the speed and accuracy of food product tracing worldwide. The center has 16 founding partners, and we all share a common desire to enhance the safety of the global food supply chain.
In October, at the Argentine Association for Food Technologists’ Congress, we shared our knowledge and expertise in consumer education with our members and many students as food science communicators. We also met with the media in Buenos Aires as part of our press outreach.
Our Certified Food Scientist (CFS) program is truly international, and I discussed this during many of my trips. I am one of more than 1,500 Certified Food Scientists in 54 countries. The CFS credential assesses applied scientific knowledge and skills of food scientists worldwide. The Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology has partnered with IFT to support the CFS program, and Canada now has more Certified Food Scientists than any other country outside the United States.
In South Africa, the CFS concept closely mirrors a government oversight certification for food scientists. We currently are working with university partners there to assess how the CFS could provide extra benefit to our South African members, and we’ve also signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia.
In April, we launched Future Food 2050, our new initiative to tell the world about the benefits of food science and technology. IFT is expanding its publishing mission to reach a broader audience. We hired Oscar nominated film director Scott Hamilton Kennedy to create a documentary about the future of food and the challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050. The documentary will provide the public with a closer, more intimate look at the science, stories, and personalities involved in addressing this monumental undertaking. The working title is Food Evolution. It’s now in production and will be released next year. We got a sneak peek during IFT’s Annual Meeting & Food Expo in New Orleans this summer.
We also launched a website, FutureFood2050.com. It identifies challenges we face and features stories about food issues and solutions. We’re interviewing 75 scientific experts, innovators, and global thought leaders concerned with feeding the world’s growing population despite limited resources and climate change. We hope that these projects will help us to better understand what our role is, both as members of the Institute and as individuals, because we are the future too.
The accomplishments we made throughout the last year would not have been possible without the dedication of our IFT member volunteers and the hardworking IFT staff. I have been truly honored to be a part of this great work, and for that I thank you!
Janet E. Collins, Ph.D., R.D., CFS,
IFT President, 2013–14
DuPont Corporate Regulatory Affairs