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World Dairy Summit Highlights Nutrition, Science, Economics and Sustainability

Oct 15, 2007

World Dairy Summit Highlights Nutrition, Science, Economics and Sustainability

The International Dairy Federation's (IDF) World Dairy Summit held earlier this month highlighted key nutritional trends, scientific advances, economic and policy issues, and environmental responsibilities of the dairy industry among other issues. The annual summit brings together researchers from around the world to discuss topics that are relevant to dairy farmers, processors, marketers and consumers. More than 900 people from 50 countries attended, including senior staff members from IDFA.

The three-day program, titled "Dairying - Can It Manage Change," included a variety of presentations on dairy policy and economics, milk production and farm management, dairy research and development, dairy science and technology, nutrition and health, functional foods and marketing.

IDFA Senior Vice President Clay Hough was a featured speaker and gave a presentation on "Prospects for the Farm Bill and After." In his presentation, Hough highlighted the domestic and global implications of the U.S. Farm Bill currently under revision by Congress.

"The highlights of the conference were the sessions looking at global economic and policy issues, nutrition and sustainability," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs. "We learned about an exciting program in the Netherlands, for example, where a group of 500 dairy farmers have agreed to take on a special feeding program that would lower saturated fat content and increase the level of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in milk."

CLA is a naturally occurring trans fat that may provide health benefits, such as lowering total LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which help prevent heart disease. According to Frye, the program demonstrated how farmers can promote sustainability in a way that has a positive economic as well as environmental impact.

Other sessions featuring nutrition trends around the world showed that Americans are not alone in their battle against obesity. One discussed dairy's role in metabolic syndrome, or diseases like diabetes and hypertension that are often associated with obesity.

Another highlighted nutrient profiling as a growing global issue. Many countries now are considering regulations that pertain to labeling individual nutrients within products rather than the nutrient profile of the entire product. IDFA is opposed to nutrient profiling, because all nutrients and ingredients in the product, not just individual elements, should be used to determine the product's true nutritional value.

"It's extremely helpful to get a broader perspective from other parts of the world and their approach to dairying," said Allen Sayler, IDFA vice president of regulatory issues and international standards, who also attended the summit. "Participation in the IDF Standing Committee meetings and Task Forces by U.S. dairy representatives facilitates international networking to advance IDFA member views in the world."

The IDF "2007 World Dairy Situation," an annual economic analysis of global dairy trends, was launched at the meeting. Bob Yonkers, IDFA director of policy analysis and chief economist, contributed to this analysis and also attended the summit.

For more information on the World Dairy Summit, contact Frye at cfrye@idfa.org or Sayler at asayler@idfa.org.

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Posted October 15, 2007

 
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