The Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH), Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), celebrated its official opening with keynote commentary from IIT, state and federal dignitaries and a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 11. More than 100 guests attended the event held in the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) pilot plant from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The inaugural launch event marked the National Center for Food Safety and Technology's (NCFST) transition to a principal operating center within the newly formed IFSH organizational structure, which also includes three others: the Center for Processing Innovation, Center for Nutrition Research, and Center for Specialty Programs.
"The Institute for Food Safety and Health is a product of the remarkable success and expansion of the National Center for Food Safety and Technology," said Brackett. "As the food industry has advanced technologically, the supply chain has become more globally integrated, consumer attitudes about nutrition have evolved, and government has worked to modernize food safety regulation. This institute has responded in kind. In recent years, our operations and facilities have expanded to include research in human clinical nutrition and health. We've started a virology program and have built an FDA-commissioned and certified Biosafety Level 3 laboratory and pilot plant."
These enhancements, said Brackett, have positioned IFSH as key player in partnering with stakeholders to contribute science-based solutions to assure positive food safety and nutrition outcomes, especially as new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) come into force.
IIT President John Anderson noted the importance of the newly established institute achieving the university's mission. "IFSH is the natural progression of the 20 years of success of NCFST, a partnership between IIT, the US Food and Drug Administration, and the food industry. The university's vision is to be internationally recognized in distinctive areas of education and research using as its platform the global city of Chicago, driven by professional and technology oriented focus, and based on a culture of innovation and excellence. IFSH is a key component of our vision."
In addition to Brackett and Anderson, the opening event also featured commentary by dignitaries from industry, state and federal government, and IIT, including FDA Associate Commissioner for Food Protection Jeff Farrar, US Representative Dan Lipinski, Illinois Director of Public Health Damon T. Arnold, Executive Vice President of Research, Development and Quality for Kraft Foods Jean E. Spence, and IIT Vice President & Motorola Chair Professor in Chemical Engineering Darsh Wasan.
To read commentary from the event's VIP speakers, please view the press release on this site.