content tagged as Sustainability

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Tamar Haspel, Washington Post columnist, moderates a discussion on how shifting diets to more plant-based food might impact the environment. Panelists include: Mary Christ-Erwin, Taylor Wallace, Adam Drewnowski, and Jessica Fanzo.

More and more consumers are gravitating toward increased consumption of plant-based foods, and health and diet research supports the many benefits of doing so.

IFT and the Feeding Tomorrow Foundation have announced a new program called Food Technologists Without Borders to leverage the technical know-how of the IFT community to address critical global food needs.

The IFT17 screening of Food Evolution drew an enthusiastic audience response. The film uses the debate around GMOs to further the dialogue about the role of science in the food system.

Environmental concerns over conventional meat production is stimulating R&D of cultured meat products.
This year’s Scientific Programming will include four Hot Topic sessions—curated, scientific sessions focused on impactful, current trends and issues facing the science of food. 
Embracing Agricultural Coexistence: Organic, Conventional, and Biotechnology

When: Tuesday, 07/17/2018 through Tuesday, 07/17/2018, 12:30 PM - 02:00 PM

Where: McCormick Place - S402ABC

Today’s consumer seeks greater transparency to all aspects of the food they purchase, including how it is grown or raised. This session will address the similarities between organic, conventional, and biotech food production, and dispel myths between the various agriculture methods. Technologies along the continuum of gene modification will be discussed, including CRISPR gene editing, methodologies used in the Artic Apple, and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) gene transfer. Real life examples from the family farm will include how the synergies of different farming systems work together toward true sustainability and how farming in sensitive watersheds has more to do with which tools in the toolbox are utilized over which farming system is employed. Attendees will be challenged to ensure their decision-making, policy making, and communications align with science and fact-based information while meeting consumer demand for greater transparency to food production methodology. Too often we believe the answer is one way or another, but multiple methods of agriculture can co-exist in today's dynamic and global food supply to provide choice to consumers.
From Lab to Fork: The Emergence of Cellular Agriculture

When: Tuesday, 07/17/2018 through Tuesday, 07/17/2018, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Where: McCormick Place - N427D

“Cellular agriculture,” the ability to produce agricultural products, such as meat, eggs, and milk through the use of biotechnology and cell culture and without the use of animals per se, is being touted as the next big breakthrough for ensuring a sustainable, safe, and ethical food supply. Meats produced via cellular agriculture have been given various monikers such as “cultured meats,” “animal-free meats,” “clean meats,” and “lab-grown meats,” to name a few. As this field of research emerges, it is conceivable that these cultured products could become commercially available in the near future. What are some of the regulatory challenges that will be faced by companies wanting to bring these products to market?

The market introduction of products developed via cellular agriculture poses a myriad of questions from a regulatory perspective. For example, what level of regulatory oversight will be needed? How will it be ensured that these products are safe? Will these products have to be nutritionally equivalent to their conventionally-obtained counterparts? How will they be labelled? When genetically modified (GM) foods were first developed and brought to market, existing regulations had to be adapted and new regulations had to be promulgated and, in some jurisdictions, GM foods continue to be contentious. Similar developments are likely to be needed for the commercialization of products obtained via cellular agriculture.

This symposium will begin with an overview of cellular agriculture: what it is, and the methods and technologies used to develop cultured animal products. The stakeholders involved in advancing the research and development of cultured animal products will be shared, in addition to the challenges associated with the progress of research in this area. Whether the existing regulatory framework in the United States for bringing food products to market can be adapted to support the commercialization of cultured animal products will be discussed, in addition to foreseen regulatory challenges.
What Food Technologists May Not Know (and Should?) About the Sugar Industry

When: Monday, 07/16/2018 through Monday, 07/16/2018, 07:45 AM - 08:45 AM

Where: McCormick Place - S402AB

Sugar (sucrose), produced from cane or beet, is the gold standard for sweeteners and will continue to be so. Both cane and beet are processed to recover the naturally occurring sucrose, with no molecular transformation necessary. The physical and chemical properties of sucrose are well established, including those related to its role in baking and as an ingredient. The nutritional role of sucrose, and other caloric sweeteners, remains a controversial issue. The diversity of sugar products, especially from cane – refined, raw, organic, turbinado, panella, etc. – is not fully understood by sugar users and will be summarized.

However, the sugar industry is much more diverse and interesting than appreciated by most food technologists. The impact of the industry on migration (forced), politics, economics, international trade and literature is very wide and will be described in some detail. Sugar cane overshadows beet in this respect, though there are some interesting historical and literary aspects of the latter. Cane production and processing provides the economic and social backbone in many parts of the world, though this is changing and the industry modernizes and factories expand in capacity.

Other underappreciated aspects of the industry relate to its size and geographic diversity. World production of crystalline sucrose exceeds 150 million tons, arguably the highest for a crystalline organic chemical. Currently the industry is a mix of small, traditional processing operations and very large, automated factories processing more than 30,000 tons of cane per day, requiring a seasonal harvest of approximately 50,000 hectares. Energy and environmental issues become very significant at this scale, especially with the potential for cogeneration. Data on this aspect of the industry will be the third part of the presentation.
Eating Less Red Meat: The Evidence Behind the Recommendation

When: Tuesday, 07/17/2018 through Tuesday, 07/17/2018, 02:15 PM - 03:45 PM

Where: McCormick Place - S405AB

This session will explore the evidence underlying recommendations for restricting red meat intake. In particular, evidence regarding current vs. recommended intakes to achieve a healthy dietary pattern, red meat’s impact on health outcomes such as heart health and cancer, and if red meat is compatible with a sustainable diet will be discussed. Three dynamic speakers will approach the question of red meat intake from multiple vantage points. Specifically, the health implications of including red meats in a healthy diet will be discussed. Secondly, the role of red meats and cancer will be explained based on current evidence. Finally, the challenges of limiting livestock production as a means of improving environmental outcomes while maintaining healthful diets for a growing population will be discussed.