Q & A with Jose Aguilera from Chile

Jose Aguilera at the “Meet the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” session, chaired by Geoffrey Campbell-Platt

Q: What are you most looking forward to accomplishing or what you hope to be accomplished at this conference?

A: This is a very important conference because I don’t know of other conferences that have a such worldwide view of foods, other than maybe IFT and then ISFE, but this is in a sense the most important congress about science and the advances of food because it embraces all areas of food and is so international.

Q: What are your first impressions of the conference?

A: The first thing that impresses me is the attendance- there are just so many people. And so many young people which is very nice; the students are very important. Also I see a lot foreign students, which is always good, and as I said, the breadth of the subjects is what impresses me the most.

Q: Is there a particular role that you wish that young scientists would take both internationally and in Chile?

A: I can talk more from the point of developing countries, they are going through crucial things regarding foods, first of all we have to feed our people, and when we are feeding our people, now we are faced with a phenomenon that didn’t exist 20 years ago: poor people are getting fat, they’re getting obese, and even though they’re spending almost all of their money on little food, they’re getting obese, so that’s one issue.

Another issue is that most of our economy depends on exporting things like coffee, cocoa, wine, salmon, and so on and so we have to guarantee the quality of our foods, so there is a lot of work to do in our own countries about greener agriculture; we have to show the world that we are concerned about water, energy, and how we cultivate things, how we manage the slaughtering of animals and all that kind of stuff, the same things as all of the countries we want to export to, which may not be the way it’s done in other countries, so there are opportunities for our students to work helping our industry. Regulation is another area because have to comply with world regulations, we want to do world commerce, and that’s always more stringent and so that’s another challenge.

So building institutions is very important. In 2012, the first agency in Chile for food quality and safety was built- we didn’t have a safety authority for food before,  so institution building is a very critical thing back home.

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