Industry Leaders Summit: Addressing Industry’s Role in Food Security, Top Challenges in a Global Economy

From left: Lim Chee Kian, President, Yi Prime Pte Limited, Singapore; Michael Knowles, VP, Coca-Cola; Diana Banati, ILSI Europe Executive Director; Randy Giroux, VP Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance, Cargill

Industry leaders from around the world spoke Sunday about the challenges their respective industries have faced and how the food industry as a whole can work to achieve the common goal of improving food security.

Co-Chaired by Allan Paulson (Canada) and John Lupien (Italy/USA), the four industry experts speaking were; Lim Chee Kian, President of Yi Prime Pte Limited in Singapore; Michael Knowles, VP at Coca-Cola; Diana Banati, ILSI Europe Executive Director; and Randy Giroux, VP Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance at Cargill. Individual talks were followed by an opportunity for audience members to ask the experts questions about their perspectives on the industry’s role in food security.

Upon being asked about the sustainability of utilizing subsidies and other such price controls, Randy Giroux had this to say: “We look at products and ask whether they’re the types of products that can sustain themselves over time without price support. Some need short-term support, for example, we were supportive of credits for biofuel because this kind of thing takes time and a large capital investment. We want to see an end game, not perpetual support. The intention should be to make sustainable products. We have never been in a more unstable time in food prices in the long term. As a general comment, those price control systems distort price and result in people growing products they shouldn’t be growing, at prices they shouldn’t be sold at. We need to rely on farmers to do what they do best. We talk to traders who have been in the business for 30 years and these are unprecedented price swings that they’re seeing- the highest the prices have ever been. Not surprisingly, we’ll be importing corn to the US from Brazil for some of our meat production, which goes to show the shortage we’re dealing with. “

Education was another theme of the panel discussion, both at the farming level as well as for end consumers. Michael Knowles specified that educating the industry about water usage has become a priority because it’s one of the most wasted resources within agriculture.

“With regards to the importance of extension and public education, in the US we don’t focus on training farmers regularly,” said Randy Giroux. “But best practices don’t just apply to the US. At Cargill, we think of agriculture on a global scale. We lose tons of grain just in storage because farmers aren’t properly trained about using best practices.”

One audience member asked how companies could regain consumer trust after so much attention has been paid to outbreaks and other such scandals.

“As consumers become more aware of food security and safety, we all share the responsibility for educating them. In order to have consumers not misperceive what we’re doing, we need to provide sufficient information, and often the media are only interested in scandals,” said Diana Banati.

“So much bad science is being published- one of the problems is that the wrong information is getting out,” added Knowles. This problem is indicative of a need for greater communication between the food science industry and the public. Randy Giroux pointed out that Cargill often has a hard time finding food scientists equipped with the “soft skills” of being able to communicate their knowledge to consumers, and that this skill needs to be made part of the training food scientists receive.

Nigel Sunley from South Africa asked the leaders about the flipside of the sustainable coin- whether companies have a responsibility for sustainable consumption.

“We work with the WHO to market to appropriate age groups – with absolutely no marketing to those under age 12. Responsible marketing is vital to Coke,” said Knowles. “It’s important to note that we never advocate high consumption, but rather moderate consumption. We have a published policy on our website, and we ensure our marketing doesn’t stray from these policies and as such, Coca Cola invests huge amounts of effort and resources to mitigate obesity issue.”

Mary Schmidl from IUFoST brought up that the problem of food security now includes the simultaneous existence of having nutrient deficiency and caloric excess; that there are enough calories in the world  but rather that what is needed is sufficient nutrients.

“The issue of hunger isn’t about calories, it’s about providing the right nutrients at the right place at the right time,” responded Knowles. “There’s a difference between being hungry because people don’t have enough calories, and being malnourished.”

Lim Chee Kian ended his talk with a quote from Dr Chua Sin Bin: “Hunger exists because we lack the will, the heart and the collective image to end it.” He added that his hope for this IUFoST congress is that it will contribute to the will, the heart and collective image to end world hunger.

Young Scientist Lecture – Dr. Cornelia Rauh

Glaucia Maria Pastore (Brazil) presents Young Scientist Award Winner Cornelia Rauh (Germany) with a certificate of recognition

Winner of the Young Scientist Award – Dr. Cornelia Rauh from the Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany is one of seven Young Scientists to win the Award. Dr. Rauh also won the opportunity to lecture during the Opening Plenary where she discussed ‘Mathematical modelling, numerical simulation and adaptive control of processes in food and biotechnology.’

These Young Scientists had to meet the criteria of:

  • A Candidate who best exemplifies food science and technology nationally
  • A Candidate’s ability to represent himself/herself in an oral presentation in a plenary setting
  • A Candidate whose focus exemplifies the Congress theme: “Addressing Global Food Security and Wellness through Food Science and Technology” with international application

The other Young Scientists to win this award are:

Fernanda Vanin (Brazil)

Chibuike Udenigwe (Canada)

Yeting Liu (Singapore)

Donna-Maree Cawthorn (South Africa)

Claudia Troeger (United Kingdom)

Lili He (United States)

Congratulations to all the winners!

IUFoST E-Learning Working Group

Distance Education Training in Food Science

From left: Adewale Obadina (Nigeria), Daryl Lund (USA), Fabiano Sant’Ana (Brazil), Don Mercer (Canada)

“One of the objectives of IUFoST is to provide opportunity for education and training to all professionals engaged in providing a safe, nutritious food supply to consumers. To that end, the IUFoST Distance Education Task Force developed a Distance-Assisted Training Programme. This programme is aimed at those involved in any way with the growing, production, processing, marketing, distribution, or preparation of food products who do not have formal training in food science and technology and desire to advance their career and enhance the quality of the food supply.

The programme is delivered to a participant through a local mentor (usually someone with an advanced degree in food science and technology or considerable industry experience).”

For more information, please visit http://iufost.org/distance-assisted-training-food-science

Global Food Industry Awards

Following the Opening Plenary on August 6th, 2012 – IUFoST and a Jury of international representatives were pleased to announce the Winners of the Global Food Industry Awards in the Categories of:

  1.  Product and/or process innovation including industrialization of traditional foods
  2.  Package innovation, with specifics on the innovative part of the packaging and why it is important
  3.  Communicating science-related knowledge to consumers aimed at improving their lifestyle.

From left: Julio Nitzke (Brazil), Lim Chee Kian (Singapore), Luu Dzuan (President of VAFST) and Atef Idriss (Lebanonl)

The Winners of Product and/or Process Innovation are:

  1. Campbell Company of Canada with ‘Nourish’
  2. Beijing Hongluo Food Co. with ‘Tuckahoe Cake’
  3. Jumain Sataysfaction with ‘Asli Microwaveable Tender Chicken Satay’
  4. Unilever Ltd. with ‘Knorr Cook in Bags’
  5. VIFON with ‘Instant Crab Meat Meals’
  6. Kikkoman Food Products Company with ‘Shiboritate-name Shoyu’

Honorable Mention:

  1. Baixiang Food Group with ‘Instant Noodles of Fine Stew Series’
  2. Yantai Shinho Enterprise Food Co with ‘Soybean Paste’

The Winners of Package Innovation are:

  1. Forte Plastics with ‘Microwaveable/Conventional Oven Self Venting, Crisping and Cooking Bag’
  2. Industry-Bag with ‘Bag in a Tube’
  3. Unilever with ‘Knorr Cook in Bags’

The Winners of Communicating Science-related Knowledge are:

  1. Faire Cape Dairies with ‘Fair Cape Eco Fresh Milk Range’
  2. Abbott Laboratories with ‘Grow School’

Congratulations to all the Industries who were nominated

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A Word with the International Council for Science

You might be aware that the International Council for Science is the international organization that unites scientists from all disciplines, to help them work together towards being significant to society at large. In that sense, it was good to have IUFoST become a member. (IUFoST was elected to ICSU in 1998). Now it is one of 31 unions that forms this international organization, together with 141 countries.

All these people getting together and producing results, either through research or exchange or capacity building can improve the way science is relevant not only in a few places in the world but all over the planet. Such a Congress as this is widely significant because this is the way the International Council for Science (ICSU) comes alive. We see that the meeting together of established scientists with younger generations and students inspire those on how to go about providing more safe food for the whole planet, and this is one of the main drivers of sustainability. We are entering a world that will soon have 9 billion inhabitants. We must define a way to spread our resources more evenly in order to provide livelihood for all of those human beings in a more stable way, dealing with the only planet we have.

This is another problem, we are overusing the planet, we are not realizing this now, but this will cost future generations. We have the duty as Scientists to alert other contingencies of the urgency to get in a more stable relationship with the planet that sustains us. I think this is an extraordinary opportunity, a congress of 2800 participants and young people from Brazil, from all over Latin America and even outside Latin America and Delegations from over 40 nations. This really is the way in which the scientific community can get together in one specialty and start to work and find better solutions for the problems of the earth. This is the spirit of what ICSU is, to have these types of meetings available, to discuss how it should be.

– Professor Sergio Jorge Pastrana

(International Council for Science: Vice-President for External Relations)

Meet the Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

From left: Aman Wirakartakusumah (Indonesia), Pingfan Rao (China), Roger Clemens (USA), John Lupien (Italy/USA), Michael Knowles (Belgium), Juliano Lemos Bicas (Chair of Congress Student Committee), Geoffrey Campbell-Platt (IUFoST President), Michèle Marcotte (Canada), Walter Spiess (Germany), Delia Rodriguez-Amaya (Brazil), Karen Lapsley (Canada/USA)

Ten speakers from around the world gave their advice and perspectives on what makes a great leader, how to succeed, and spoke about their own personal journeys they’ve taken to get where they are today.

Here are a few highlights of what they had to say:

“I would encourage you to increase the right side of your brain, do things for fun and make sure you balance out the left side of your brain by doing things you enjoy.” -Aman Wirakartakusumah

“Never stop learning. Keep an inquisitive mind,  and never stop wanting to know more- this will lead you to much higher positions.” -John Lupien

“Be inspired by what you’re doing; how do you want to be, how do you want to contribute, these are two things you must ask yourself. Know what your strengths and your weaknesses are and lead from where you stand.” – Michèle Marcotte

Delia Rodriguez-Amaya

“You should be someone who is both productive and pleasurable to work with. Have the humility to go work in a lower position first before going to the top.” Delia Rodriguez-Amaya

“Opportunities may come but you also must make them. My career in science is based on advice I got: Never compete. The secret is to win but not compete- you have to find your own niche.” -Jose Aguilera

“Leadership is a privilege bestowed on you by people who believe in you. Be prepared to take or make every opportunity you can. One of the great things about food science and technology is that they enjoy it. We all eat, so we’re all stakeholders. Have passion, enjoy it, and work with others.” – Michael Knowles

Opening Ceremony!

The Traditional Brazilian band camp drumming in…

The Dancers came to entertain and start the night…

The Ceremony began with one or two people saying a few words…