Institute of Food Technologists

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Institute of Food Technologists
Founded 1939
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, USA
Website Official website

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. Since it’s founding in 1939, IFT has been committed to advancing the science of food. It has more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries.


Early history[edit]

As food technology grew from the individual family farm to the factory level, including the slaughterhouse for meat and poultry processing, the cannery for canned foods, and bakeries for bread, the need to have personnel trained for the food industry did also. Literature such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle in 1906 about slaughterhouse operations would be a factor in the establishment of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) later that year. The United States Department of Agriculture was also interested in food technology, and research was already being done at agricultural colleges in the United States, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the University of California, Berkeley.[1] By 1935, two MIT professors, Samuel C. Prescott and Bernard E. Proctor decided that it was time to hold an international conference regarding this.[2] A detailed proposal was presented to MIT President Karl Taylor Compton in 1936 was presented with $1500 of financial aid from MIT for a meeting to be held from June 30 to July 2, 1937 with Compton asking how many people would be in attendance at this meeting. Prescott replied with "fifty or sixty people." 500 people actually attended the event.[2]

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.[3] 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.[3] By 1949, IFT had 3,000 members.


Regional sections were established in IFT as early as 1940 in northern California (San Francisco, Bakersfield, Sacramento).[4] 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. Army Colonel Charles 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.[5] Additionally, IFT Divisions were established in 1971 with the Refrigerated and Frozen Foods Division being the first.[6] 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.[7]


Today, there are a total of 25 divisions and 53 sections within IFT. The governing body of IFT consists of a Board of Directors made up of the President, President-Elect, Past-President, Treasurer, and Executive Vice President, along with twelve board members, of which four are elected every three years. This change was approved by the IFT members in a change to the constitution in April 2007.[8] IFT also communicates with the news media, using seventy scientists to discuss the scientific perspective on food issues.[9] 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.[10][11] 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.[12] 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, and 2001. Today, IFT sits on the advisory council for the International Food Protection Training Institute. Future issues in food technology include microsensors and biosensors in food, antimicrobials in food packaging to extend the shelf-life of food, and nanotechnology creation for food microencapsulation[12][13]

In 2010, IFT celebrated the 10th year of its office in Washington, D.C.[14] Its website was overhauled on May 24, 2010.[15]

Annual Meeting & Food Expo[edit]

The largest in-person gathering for IFT is the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo. This event, which offers more than 200 scientific education sessions and an expo featuring 800-1,000 exhibiting companies, regularly attracts 16,000-22,000 people from more than 75 countries.


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.[16] Since 1996, issues such as obesity, food allergens, and bioterrorism have become main issues for IFT.


All awards except the Loncin prize have this reference[17] listed below.

  • Nicholas Appert Award (1942) – IFT's highest honor. Lifetime contributions to food technology.
  • Babcock-Hart Award (1948) – Significant contributions in food technology that resulted in public health improvements through some aspect of nutrition.
  • 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.
  • Food Technology Industrial Achievement Award (1959) – Developing an outstanding food process or product that represents a significant advance in food technology or food production.
  • 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.
  • Calvert L. Willey Award (1989) – For meritorious and imaginative service in IFT.
  • Stephen S. Chang Award for Lipid or Flavor Science (1993) – For contribution in lipid and flavor science.
  • IFT Industrial Scientist Award (1994) – For technical contributions that advances the food industry.
  • Marcel Loncin Research Prize (1994)[18]- For basic research involving chemistry, physics, and food engineering applied to food research and food quality.
  • 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.


These are divisions of interest by the IFT Members[19]


These are usually cities, states, and regions. If a region is mentioned, a city in that region is mentioned which include areas surrounded by the city.[20]

Executive vice presidents[edit]

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 a permanent location for IFT. Since then, the position's name has changed twice to its current name. There have been six Executive Vice Presidents[21] shown below:

Member grades[edit]

There are four member grades within the Institute:[22]

  • 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 membership while member with a Doctorate of Philosophy degree can earn three years of membership to assist in qualification.
  • Emeritus Member – Any retired Member or Professional Member who has been an IFT Member for a minimum of twenty years.



The Institute also has many publications that are both in print and online[23] that are shown below:

Both Food Technology and the Journal of Food Science can be accessed in print or online. Other publications are shown below:

  • The Journal of Food Science Education or JSFE (2002 – Online only) – This journal deals with innovations, techniques, and methods to improve education in food science and technology.[26]
  • Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2002 – Online only) – This journal, published online on a quarterly basis, 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.[27]
  • IFT Weekly Newsletter – A weekly e-mail newsletter sent out every Wednesday about issues within food industry, including food companies, food research, food regulations, and IFT itself.[28]
  • Nutraceutical Newsletter – An e-mail newsletter similar to the IFT Weekly Newsletter though it deals specifically with nutraceuticals.[28]
  • IFT Books – The Institute has four book publishers that offer membership discounts, including IFT Press (a partnership with Blackwell Publishing), Grey House Publishing, Marcel Dekker, and John Wiley & Sons, Inc., on food science and technology.[29]
  • 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.[29]


  1. ^ Goldblith, S.A. (1993). Pioneers in Food Science, Volume 1: Samuel Cate Prescott – M.I.T. Dean and Pioneer Food Technologist. Trumball, Connecticut: Food & Nutrition Press, Inc. pp. 99–100.
  2. ^ a b Goldblith. p. 101.
  3. ^ a b Goldblith. p. 102.
  4. ^ Northern California IFT Section Chairs
  5. ^ "In Memoriam: Calvert L. Willey." Food Technology June 1994. pp. 20–21.
  6. ^ Heldman, Dennis R. "Proposed Changes in IFT Divisions." IFT-FED Webletter. May 2006. Accessed October 7, 2006
  7. ^ IFT Student Association history
  8. ^ "Members Ratify IFT Constitution". Food Technology. June 2007. p. 25.
  9. ^ IFT-News Room
  10. ^ IUFoST links with IFT
  11. ^ Heldman, D.R. "IFT and International Food Science." Food Technology. November 2006: 11.
  12. ^ a b Heldman, D. R. "IFT and the Food Science Profession." Food Technology. October 2006. p. 11.
  13. ^ Bugusu, B. and C. Bryant. "Defining the Future of Food Packaging." Food Technology. December 2006. pp. 38–42.
  14. ^ Fisher, Willam, Rosetta L. Newsome, and Sarah D. Ohlhorst. "IFT marks 10 Years of Food Science Advocacy". Food Technology. June 2010: 26–30.
  15. ^ IFT Staff. "New IFT web site". Food Technology. June 2010: 32–33, 35.
  16. ^ Potter, Norman N. and Joseph H. Hotchkiss (1995). Food Science. 5th Edition. New York: Chapman & Hall. pp.20–21.
  17. ^ Achievement Awards Nomination (Word file)
  18. ^ Marcel Loncin Research Prize
  19. ^ IFT Divisions
  20. ^ IFT Sections
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ IFT Member Grades
  23. ^ IFT Publications
  24. ^ Food Technology magazine
  25. ^ Journal of Food Science
  26. ^ The Journal of Food Science Education
  27. ^ Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety
  28. ^ a b IFT Newsletters
  29. ^ a b Books

Further reading[edit]

  • Wanucha, Genevieve. "Two Happy Clams: The Friendship that Forged Food Science." Food Technology. November 2009. p. 88.

External links[edit]