Innovative Foods and Ingredients (IFI)

Convened by Institute on Science for Global Policy(ISGP) & Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Minneapolis, MN, USA
06-23-2019 - 06-27-2019

The expanding use of advanced preparatory methods and distinct genomic compositions in food is rapidly creating a new age of consumer choices.  Simultaneously, these innovative food and ingredient choices are dramatically altering the decisions being made by stakeholders throughout the food supply system, domestically and internationally.  Scientific, farming, processing, manufacturing, marketing, and retail distribution communities focused on providing commercially viable products are directly affected, as are government regulators overseeing the safety of the food system and public advocates committed to accurately informing consumers.

The Innovative Foods and Ingredients (IFI) conference series, organized and convened by the ISGP with support from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is part of the ISGP Food Innovation Program.  The initial IFI conference in this multi-year project is scheduled to be convened June 23-27, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), non-partisan organization, the ISGP does not lobby on any issue.  The IFI conference series seeks to identify the opportunities, challenges, and priorities recognized by major scientific, technological, private sector, governmental, and public advocacy stakeholders involved in the emergence of innovative foods and ingredients.  The first of these IFI conferences focuses on plant- and microbial-derived foods and ingredients and specifically, excludes consideration of food and ingredients derived from cultured mammalian cells or genetically engineered animals.

To promote the candid exchange of ideas and clarity of priorities, the initial, invitation-only IFI conference is convened in a not-for-attribution environment defined by the Chatham House Rule.  The critical debate/extended caucus format pioneered by the ISGP over more than a decade has proven to be effective in addressing the diverse, often conflicting, views held by stakeholders from widely different communities such as those found in the food supply system.  The IFI conference agenda links options based on evidence-based, credible scientific understanding with commercially realistic decisions concerning how plant- and microbial-derived foods and ingredients can be safely offered to the public under FDA’s statutory frameworks.  Recent history surrounding how technology appears in the food supply system emphasizes the need to balance private sector priorities with regulatory structures and narratives used to accurately, and transparently, inform the public about new food choices.

IFI Conference Structure

The initial two days of the IFI conference are devoted to 90-minute, moderated debates of eight, concise position papers prepared and defended by internationally recognized subject-matter experts.  The 60-70 debaters examine and critique the current realities, opportunities, challenges, and priorities identified by all stakeholders. On the third day, small-group, moderated caucuses attended by all of the approximately 120 participants are held to identify future options and opportunities consistent with stakeholder priorities.  A plenary session reviewing the results emerging from the small-group caucuses is held on the final conference morning. Caucus outcomes, position papers, and not-for-attribution summaries of all debates are anticipated to be published by the ISGP for free public distribution.

For more information about this conference, please contact NiCole Bice at nbice@scienceforglobalpolicy.org