The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is an international, non-profit scientific society of professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related areas in academia, government and industry. It has more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries.
This meeting proved so successful that in early 1938 that a second conference would be held in 1939. Initially led by George J. Hucker of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (part of Cornell University) in Geneva, New York, a small group meeting was held on August 5, 1938 on forming an organization with an expanded group meeting in New York City on January 16, 1939 to further discuss this. The second conference was held at MIT June 29 to July 1, 1939 with Proctor as conference chair. 600 people attended this event. At the final session, the chairman of the session Fred C. Blanck of the United States Department of Agriculture, proposed that an organization be established as the Institute of Food Technologists. This was approved unanimously. Its first officers were Prescott as President, Roy C. Newton of Swift & Company in Chicago, Illinois as Vice President, and Hucker as Secretary-Treasurer. By 1949, IFT had 3,000 members.
Regional sections were established in IFT as early as 1940 in northern California (San Francisco, Bakersfield, Sacramento). The first IFT Award, the Nicholas Appert Award was established in 1942 by IFT's Chicago section with additional awards being established since then. For the first ten years, IFT officers were President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. In 1949, IFT moved into offices in Chicago and created a permanent position of Executive Secretary to run daily organizational operations. Retired U.S. ArmyColonelCharles S. Lawrence was named the first Executive Secretary, a position he would hold until 1961 when he was replaced by Calvert L. Willey. During Willey's term as Executive Director (Executive Secretary 1961-1966), IFT would grow from 6,000 members in 1961 to 23,000 members in 1987. Additionally, IFT Divisions were established in 1971 with the Refrigerated and Frozen Foods Division being the first. The IFT Student Division was established in 1975, and was reorganized in 1984 to be the IFT Student Association with the chairperson serving as a member of the IFT Board of Directors.
The governing body of IFT consists of a Board of Directors made up of the President, President-Elect, Immediate Past-President, Treasurer, Student Association President, Student Association Immediate Past President, IFT Foundation Chair, and Executive Vice President, along with twelve board members. IFT also communicates with the news media, using sixty scientists to discuss the scientific perspective on food issues. IFT is also active in the international level by its membership in the International Union of Food Science and Technology, headquartered in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Education has always been a focus of IFT, going as far back as 1941, with the desire to have uniform education standards in food technology. Education standards for undergraduate students were approved by IFT in 1966 for food science and technology. These standards were revised and updated in 1977, 1992, 2001, and 2011. Today, IFT sits on the advisory council for the International Food Protection Training Institute.
IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo
IFT largest in-person gathering is IFT's Annual Meeting & Food Expo. This event, which offers more than 100 scientific and applied education sessions and an expo featuring 1,000+ exhibiting companies, regularly attracts 23,000 food professionals from more than 90 countries.
IFT offers the Certified Food Scientist (CFS) designation. The CFS is the only globally-recognized certification for food scientists, and has more than 1600 certificants in 55 countries. The CFS program is officially endorsed by the Australian Institute of Food Science Technology (AIFST) as well as the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST). Earning the CFS consists of meeting certain academic and work experience requirements and passing an exam in the following content areas:
Quality Assurance and Quality Control
Food Chemistry and Food Analysis
Sensory Evaluation and Consumer Testing
It was designed to meet the International Standards Organization (ISO) 17024 standards for certification programs.
Global Food Traceability Center
IFT's Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) is the global resource and authoritative voice on food traceability. Supported by its Founding Sponsors and guided by its Advisory Council, GFTC is designed to accelerate adoption and implementation of practical traceability solutions across the global food system.
The Center works to deliver events, research, and support services that will help to increase understanding of food traceability across four business platforms:
Protocols & Standards
Education & Training
All awards except the Loncin prize have this reference listed below.
Bor S. Luh International Award (1956 - International Award from 1956 to 2004) - Individual member or institution that had outstanding efforts in one of the following in food technology: 1) international exchange of ideas, 2) better international understanding, and/or 3) practical successful technology transfer to an economically depressed area in a developed or developing nation.
Samuel Cate Prescott Award (1964) - Outstanding ability of research in food technology. This is for researchers who are under 36 years of age or who are a maximum ten years after earning their highest academic degree whichever is later.
William V. Cruess Award (1970) - Excellence in teaching food science and technology. It is the only award that students can vote.
Carl R. Fellers Award (1984) - For IFT members who have brought honor and recognition to food science through achievements in areas other than education, research, development, and technology transfer.
IFT Research & Development Award (1997) - For significant research and development contributions to better understanding within food science, food technology, and nutrition.
Elizabeth Fleming Stier Award (1997) - Humanitarian and unselfish dedication that results in significant contributions to the well-being in the food industry, academia, general public, or students.
Bernard L. Oser Award (2000) - For contributing to the scientific knowledge of food ingredient safety or in leadership in establishing food ingredient safety evaluation or regulation.
Myron Solberg Award (2004) - For providing leadership in establishing, successfully developing, and continuing a cooperative organization involving academia, government, and industry.
Sensory and Consumer Sciences Achievement Award (2014) -To recognize excellence within the sensory and consumer sciences field.
Gilbert A. Leveille Award and Lectureship (2014) - Recognizes outstanding research and/or public service at the interface between the disciplines of nutrition and food science, over a period of five years or more, which has contributed to improved health and well-being.
WK Kellogg International Food Security Award (2012) - To honor an IFT member working in academics, research institutes or the government, regardless of geographic origin, whose outstanding efforts result in one or more of the following: (1) Enabling and increasing access to nutritious food in non-industrialized countries; (2) Developing emerging technologies and/or research that addresses non-industrialized countries food needs, food safety, and food security; and/or (3) Contributing toward the technological development in one or more local food industries to help foster economic development in non-industrialized countries.
These are divisions of interest by the IFT Members
Between IFT's founding in 1939 and 1949, the institute had elected a secretary and treasurer that kept up with the daily operations of the institute. By 1949, the membership had reached 3,000 and it was decided to create an Executive Secretary position and establish national office in Chicago. Since then, the position's name has changed twice to its current name. There have been six Executive Vice Presidents shown below:
Student member - A full-time student working on an Associate of Science degree or higher in food science, food technology, or a related field. All applications must be endorsed by a faculty member.
Member - A person active in the food industry who shows interest in supporting the Institute's objective.
Professional Member - An IFT member who has five years of experience within food science or technology whether it is academic, government, or industrial. A member with a Master of Science degree can earn one year of experience while member with a Doctorate of Philosophy degree can earn three years of experience to assist in qualification.
Emeritus Member - Any retired Member or Professional Member who has been an IFT Member for a minimum of twenty years.
Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2002 - Online only) - This journal, published bimonthly, deals with a broad review of a narrowly defined topic relating to food science and technology, including physiology, economics, history, nutrition, microbiology, engineering, processing, and genetics. All aspects of these reviews are studied, including strengths, weaknesses, and research differences in order to present insightful investigation, including interpretation, summary, and conclusion.
IFT Weekly Newsletter - A weekly e-mail newsletter sent out every Wednesday about issues within the food industry, including food companies, food research, food regulations, and IFT itself.
Nutraceutical Newsletter - An e-mail newsletter similar to the IFT Weekly Newsletter though it deals specifically with nutraceuticals and functional foods.
IFT Books - The Institute has four book publishers that offer membership discounts, including IFT Press (a partnership with Wiley-Blackwell), Grey House Publishing, DESteck Publications, and Taylor and Francis, on food science and technology.
Three annual buyers guides are also published: Food Technology Buyer's Guide, Nutraceutical Buyer's Guide, and Annual Guide to Food Industry Services. These are usually published as a supplement to Food Technology magazine.
Wanucha, Genevieve. "Two Happy Clams: The Friendship that Forged Food Science." Food Technology. November 2009. p. 69.
One constant that IFT has concern with is food safety, mainly with pathogens in food (see food microbiology) and how to counter these harmful bacteria. The global trade of food is also concerned with food safety and food security, specifically with ingredient availability and consumer tastes worldwide. Food traceability, food fraud, obesity, and how science and technology will help feed the world's projected 9 billion-plus people in 2050 have all become main issues for IFT.