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World Dairy Summit Highlights Sustainability, Nutrition and Economic Policies

Sep 28, 2009

The International Dairy Federation's World Dairy Summit held earlier this month highlighted several environmental initiatives undertaken by the global dairy industry, as well as economic and policy issues, key nutritional trends and scientific advances. The annual summit, held this year in Berlin, brings together researchers from around the world to discuss topics that are relevant to dairy farmers, processors, marketers and consumers.

The three-day program, titled "United Dairy World 2009," included a variety of presentations on the environment, dairy policy and economics, milk production and farm management, dairy research and development, dairy science and technology, nutrition and health, food safety and marketing.

Global Dairy Platform, an international non-profit organization based in Chicago, held its third annual meeting in conjunction with the summit. The meeting focused on planned efforts to address three key issues - milkfat, nutrient density and sustainability - that would help to meet GDP's goal of enhancing the image of milk and dairy products around the world.

"The most successful aspect of this gathering each year is getting people around the world talking about what they're doing in the areas of research, nutrition and communications," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "Although it can be difficult to speak globally with one voice, the collaboration and idea generation can be extremely valuable."

Denmark, for example, is facing a proposed tax on butter and cheese. During the meeting, Tipton discussed the U.S. industry's recent success in defeating a proposed sweetened beverage tax that would have included flavored milk. She urged Denmark to work collectively with the food manufacturing industry, as U.S. dairy processors did, to strengthen its position and message.

IDFA Staff in Leadership Positions

The IDF "2009 World Dairy Situation," an annual economic analysis of global dairy trends, also was released at the summit. See this month's Dairy Market Update column by Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, for more details.  Yonkers serves as the chair of the IDF Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics.

"Our staff participation in the IDF Standing Committee meetings and Task Forces, which are held at the same time, help IDFA to promote our members perspective to other dairy markets around the world," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, who also attended the summit. "These committees play an important role in shaping global standards through the Codex Alimentarius Commission."

IDFA Vice Presidents Allen Sayler and Cary Frye also are active in IDF committees that met in Berlin. Sayler is vice chair of the Standing Committee on Food Additives, and Frye is vice chair of the Standing Committee on Food Labeling. More information on these committee meetings will be included in next week's News Update.

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