By: Adam Friedlander, Specialist, Food Safety and Technical Services, Food Marketing Institute

mg-caption: SQFI and FMI teams highlighted the importance of implementing globally-recognized food safety codes to IFT19 attendees. Left to right: Kathy Chiao, Leslie Jones and Adam FriedlanderEarlier this month, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) held their annual convention in New Orleans, Louisiana to promote advances in food science with approximately 20,000 conference attendees. Whether I roamed the expo floor or attended technical sessions, I learned that FMI members have an opportunity to increase their leadership presence by joining this passionate community. 

Here are a few key highlights from my week at IFT19:

  1. Emerging Trends
    • Plant-based proteins, CBD, low-calorie sweeteners and newly developed flavors dominated the expo floor.
    • Discussions about data collection and data utilization served as a common theme in technical sessions and keynote addresses.
  2. Networking with Food Science Students and Professors
    • To raise food safety leadership, FMI members are encouraged to network with IFT Student Association (IFTSA) peers to learn how their technical expertise can advance food safety and nutrition goals throughout the world.
    • By walking around the expo floor, I was able to meet students and administrators of top food science programs and share information about the FMI Foundation Food Safety and Auditing Scholarship – applications for the 2019/2020 year will be accepted until September 13, 2019. 
  3. Global Food Traceability Center
    • For the first time in IFT history, the Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) held scientific presentations directly in the middle of the expo floor. These sessions were important for regulators, retailers, product suppliers, academics and data analysts to gain greater exposure to the promises and limitations for traceability technologies. 
  4. Introduction to Product Suppliers and Private Brands 
    • On the expo floor, I met bulk ingredient manufacturers, flavor suppliers and private brand processors to learn more about their food safety practices and how they work with retailers to ensure safe, quality products. 

Overall, I learned that FMI has a tremendous opportunity to build a greater leadership presence in the agricultural industry by becoming active participants in the IFT community. Building inclusive, diverse and passionate networks of food science experts are crucial for retailers, wholesalers and product suppliers to advance food safety initiatives, together. FMI proudly supports IFT and we encourage our members to learn more about opportunities within the IFT community.   

For more information on how the FMI Food and Product Safety Team works with all supply chain partners to help keep food safe, please visit

  • Food Safety & Security