4 Promises to IFT Members

Contributor: Tedley Pihl, Cactus Section IFT President

At the 75th annual National IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) meeting in Chicago this last July, IFT President-Elect Dr. Colin Dennis spoke on the Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan of the Institute.   The mission he stated is “To advance the science of food and its application across the global food system”.  Four Strategic Priorities, also known as IFT Promises to its Members, were delineated to achieve this mission.  These four promises are to Develop, Network, Innovate and Advocate.  The Cactus Section of IFT plans to incorporate these promises throughout our activities in the 2015-2016 IFT year.

The promise of Develop is to “Advance and Promote Careers in the Science of Food”.  IFT wishes to support its members and their unique needs throughout their career life cycle.

The IFT Student Association, IFTSA, is an international group of over 2,700 students.  Benefits of being a part of the IFTSA are for example a sense of community, opportunities for scholarships and competitions (College Bowl and Mars New Product Competition), help in finding jobs, and mentorships.  The Cactus Section meeting on October 28th will be hosted by the University of Arizona, College of Ag and Life Sciences Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology in Tucson.  The focus of the meeting will be “Raising the Bar, from the Farmer’s Gate to Consumer’s Plate”.  We will learn about food safety research at the U of A.  A poster session, and tour of the labs will be followed by a presentation by AIB International.

The CFS (Certified Food Scientist) program is the only recognized global certification for food science professionals. Currently, there are eight CFS participants who are Cactus members but we are working to double this number in 2016.  Information on CFS test preparation will be provided on our website

IFT affords safe opportunities to acquire leadership skills through Division and Section and Board leadership.  Cactus IFT is always looking for contributors who wish to expand their leadership skills!  Send us a note @ to learn more about how to expand your public speaking and organizational acumen.

The Network promise strives to offer members a sense of community. New to Arizona?  Trying to penetrate the Arizona food industry market?  Reach out to Cactus and find a sense of place.  September 24th the Cactus Section will be having its third annual “Opportunity Meeting” in Tempe.  This is a fun and free ice-breaker for the upcoming year to learn about what IFT can do for you and your career.  Come and be prepared to make new contacts!  If you can’t make this one, there will be six more meetings throughout the year with networking as a priority at each one.

As scientists, or those involved in the business of science, Innovation is a must.  It’s critical to stay on top of the changing climate of the food industry.  In January, Cactus Section will be meeting in Phoenix to hear from IRI about new product trends in the foods arena.  The focus of the meeting in March (date TBD) in Phoenix will be on the nutraceutical business with two presentations from experts in this industry.

Save the date for April 5, 2016 as the Cactus Section annual Supplier’s Night takes place at the El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium in Phoenix.  Last year there were 100 vendors in attendance sharing information on cutting edge ingredients and resources for Food Science professionals. This free event serves to provide opportunities to build innovation in to your business.

The fourth promise of IFT is to act as an Advocate: “Address Issues and Influence Outcomes”IFT is an “objective voice” in the science of food.  Communicating the facts on controversial issues (for example GMO) can be eased with the use of Food Science Ambassadors @  The National IFT website with tabs such as the Future Food 2050 and the Global Food Traceability Center is rich with support in this area.

National IFT is focused on the four Strategic Priorities to advance food science worldwide.  Your Cactus Section is dedicated to bringing these promises to the local level.  Please join us for our kick-off meeting on Thursday 9/24/2015 5:30 pm at The Watershed in Tempe, AZ and learn more about what how these promises can work for you.