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Highlights from ITF15

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) celebrated their 75th annual food meeting and exposition at the McCormick Center in downtown Chicago, IL from July 12th-14th 2015. Burdock Group has attended and exhibited at IFT’s annual meeting since 2004. As in prior years, professionals from around the globe met at IFT to discuss trends and innovations in food and related industries.

On Saturday night the IFT conference kicked off with the Awards Ceremony and Welcome Reception held at the Chicago Fields Museum. The museum provided a lovely venue for a warm evening of drinks, food and engaging conversation.

IFT15 Welcome Reception at the Fields Museum in Chicago

On Sunday, the IFT Food Law and Regulations (FLDR) and the Toxicology and Safety Evaluation (TASED) Divisions held their joint division luncheon. Burdock Group presented our annual student travel awards to two exemplary toxicology students, Wendan Wang and Gengjun Chen. Each student was given $500 to cover travel and expenses to attend IFT, along with a commemorative plaque and a copy of Cassarett and Doull’s Toxicology textbook, in which Dr. Burdock co-authors the chapter on Food Toxicology.

Burdock Group Student Travel Award Winners for IFT15, presented at the Food Law and Regulations and Toxicology and Safety Evaluation Joint Luncheon. Dr. Ray Matulka presenting to Gengjun Chen (left) and Wendan Wang (right).

Dr. Susan Mayne, the new director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), was the key speaker at the FLRD/TASED luncheon. Dr. Mayne discussed CFSAN’s priorities, which included FSMA implementation, the Redbook update, updated nutrition guidelines (e.g. infant formula and PHOs), menu labeling, gluten free labeling, and reducing sodium intake through voluntary guidance. She also noted internal priorities for CFSAN included a separate office for supplement regulators, new upcoming legislation for cosmetics, and increasing international programs. As a scientist and prior academic, Dr. Mayne emphasized that scientific research was at the forefront of how she planned to approach new initiatives for CFSAN.

Dr. Susan Mayne Speaking at the IFT Food Law and Regulations and Toxicology and Safety Evaluation Joint Luncheon at IFT15

Dr. Ray Matulka, Burdock Group’s Director of Toxicology, presented the topic Harmonization of Approaches for Food Ingredients and Constituents: Is It Possible? in the IFT session Risk Assessments: Which is Best for Food Ingredients and Contaminants? with co-speakers Alison Willis from the University of Cincinnati’s Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA) and Dr. Alan Boobis from the Imperial College of London on Sunday, July 12th at 1:30 PM. The session discussed the approaches that have been used to determine safe levels of exposure to food ingredients (e.g. NOAEL, benchmark dose, threshold of toxicological concern) and generated a discussion about the best method to assess risk of food ingredients and contaminants.

The early morning Fun Run/ Walk was unfortunately rained out this year. The show floor, on the other hand, was busier than ever on Monday, featuring many talks and demonstrations on the show floor. The activity around the booths was engaging, and many exhibitors, including our booth neighbors, Eurofins, hosted happy hours for the conference guests.

Burdock Group sponsored the IFT FL Section this year, and was represented at their annual festive reception at Mother Hubbard’s. Many Florida-based companies were represented at the reception, and all joined to support the University of Florida’s Food Science and Human Nutrition (UF/IFAS) division.

Burdock Group sponsors IFT FL Section Party at Mother Hubbard’s in Chicago, IL

The last day of the show, Tuesday, July 14th, was similarly busy in the exhibition hall. At 1:15 PM, Dr. Ray Matulka, along with Andrea Wong from the Council of Responsible Nutrition and Todd Harrison from Venable LLP, presented Scientific Evidence for Claims: The Importance of Presentation, Gap Analysis and Timing. Questions after the session were numerous and discussion was lively. Many in the audience had an interest in claims substantiation, and wanted to know what specific types of the scientific evidence is required and what exactly is considered competent and reliable scientific evidence for certain types of claims.

IFT15 was another successful conference hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists, and we look forward to being in downtown Chicago again next year, July 16-19th 2016.

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