CHICAGO -- The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) entered into a five-year contract yesterday with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide scientific evaluations and reviews on issues related to food safety, food processing, and human health. IFT will study and assess current and new information in these areas to enable the agency to develop timely food safety policies and regulations based on the most advanced science.
"The state-of-the-art science, particularly in food processing and packaging, that IFT brings to this contract will augment the expertise of FDA scientists and be invaluable to us in protecting the health of American consumers," said Joseph A. Levitt, director, FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
The FDA will issue task orders throughout the contract's term, effective until Sept. 29, 2003. The agency's first task has charged IFT with reviewing and analyzing emerging non-thermal food processing technologies that may potentially be used for pasteurization or sterilization. Such technologies include, but are not limited to, high pressure processing, pulsed electric fields, pulsed X-rays or ultraviolet light, ohmic heating, combined ultraviolet light and low concentration hydrogen peroxide, submegahertz ultrasound, inductive heating, filtration, and oscillating magnetic fields. IFT has until March 29, 2000, to complete this project. Evaluating innovative strategies and technologies to control foodborne pathogens and complement the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system is a high priority of the FDA.
IFT plans to involve a multidisciplinary advisory board of leading scientists from around the world to identify a panel of experts who will conduct reviews and analyses for each task. All work will take into account risk assessment, food safety objectives (determinations of the microbiological, physical, and chemical conditions in foods that provide acceptable consumer protection), and management of microbiological hazards in international trade.
"As foodborne pathogens annually affect the health of millions of Americans, IFT welcomes the opportunity to assist the FDA in finding new ways to control these pathogens," said IFT President Bruce R. Stillings. "It is an honor to be able to provide the FDA with the additional scientific expertise needed to assess emerging food technologies."
Founded in 1939, IFT is a non-profit scientific society with 28,000 members working in food science, technology and related professions in industry, academia and government. As the society for food science and technology, IFT brings sound science to the public discussion of food issues.