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Guest Columns

Perspective:
Industry Issues

Say ‘howdy’ to opportunity

Connie Tipton

Connie Tipton is president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. She contributes this column exclusively for Cheese Market News®.

It seems as if most of the time someone is telling us what to do. FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), USDA, others in the federal bureaucracy and similar friends at the state and local level all want to check and double check how you’re operating, whether your products are safe, whether your people are safe and whether the environment is safe. It can be overwhelming at times.

Consumers, too, care more than ever about how our products are made and what effect food manufacturing has on our planet. Overall they trust dairy products because we have a great track record as an industry. But constant vigilance and improvement to all of these operational issues and reliable communications are imperative to keeping consumers safe and on our side.

Throughout the year, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) brings together the resources to support policies that allow for technological advances while preserving the integrity of dairy products. And we work closely with regulatory agencies to ensure the safety and efficiency of dairy operations. Our priorities in the regulatory arena are to:

• Advocate science-based policies concerning product safety, labeling requirements, standards of identity, weights and measures, environmental issues, worker safety, food technology and nutrition;

• Maintain strong relationships with such agencies as USDA, FDA, EPA and OSHA, as well as state regulatory agencies; and

• Play a leading role in all regulatory proceedings affecting dairy, including the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments, the National Conference on Weights and Measures, the International Dairy Federation and the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

But the changes and challenges have been coming fast and furious in the last few years. Dairy is perhaps the most regulated food in the country today, and our membership base of more than 250 dairy foods companies with more than 600 plant operations is constantly dealing with new regulations, shifting requirements and changing consumer tastes. Our members need quick answers and access to all the options that will help them meet today’s challenges.

That’s why IDFA decided to launch the International Dairy Show.

New this year, the International Dairy Show is specifically designed to offer a unique venue where the dairy industry can come together to share new ideas, technology and best practices in a wide variety of operational and marketing areas. Scheduled for Sept. 13-15 in Dallas, the show will introduce the core strengths of hundreds of suppliers to dairy foods processors and manufacturers looking for new ways of operating, new ingredients, new packaging, new technologies and new ways to promote their products.

The show guarantees to offer something for everyone.

• Executives will be able to network with peers, view the newest technology and products presented by more than 300 suppliers and discover added options for keeping businesses competitive and profitable.

• Plant managers will find the latest training in food safety and quality programs.

• Engineers will see firsthand how innovations can improve productivity in plants and meet some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry.

• Corporate chefs will find the ingredients, seasonings and flavorings trends that can enhance recipes and product offerings.

• Marketing professionals will hear the latest data on consumer trends and participate in sessions about marketing to kids, the Hispanic market and ways to reposition private labels.

The show also will feature educational sessions on topics including the challenges of reducing sodium levels in cheese, as well as the latest research results on what happens to children’s nutrition when flavored milk is eliminated or curtailed in schools.

We truly believe the International Dairy Show will be a premier opportunity for all processors and suppliers in the dairy industry.

CMN

The views expressed by CMN’s guest columnists are their own opinions and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheese Market News®.

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