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Dairy Facts 2016

IDF Unveils ‘Strategy Refresh’ at Paris Business Meetings

Jan 07, 2015
Eric Grande, Lactalis; Cary Frye, IDFA; Laurence Rycken, IDF; Karine Simbelie, Atla; and John Allan, IDFA.

The International Dairy Federation’s annual World Dairy Summit, originally scheduled for October in Tel Aviv, was cancelled earlier this year due to unrest in the region and security concerns for participants. The IDF business and committee meetings, which usually take place during the Summit, were held separately in Paris late last year and four IDFA staff members participated. 

During the General Assembly, IDF announced that it will move forward with a “strategy refresh” that will retain the organization’s role as the global voice of dairy with science-based experts while drawing financial and research support from other resources. IDF unveiled a plan to work in the areas of nutrition and sustainability with the Global Dairy Platform, said Cary Frye, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs for IDFA and an IDF board member.

GDP, a collaborative organization that focuses on worldwide issues affecting the demand for dairy, is creating a dairy sector fund that can provide funding for special projects. GDP will appoint sector leads who will work with IDF to develop and submit proposals to the fund for consideration. Although no specific projects have been identified yet, in the past GDP has funded projects such as sustainability studies, marketing activities and a scientific literature review of milkfat and its effect on health outcomes.

At the meeting, IDF President Jeremy Hill assured members that the new strategy would not change the way IDF operates with its network of nearly 40 member countries. IDF will still set and control its work priorities in key designated areas of food safety, standards, nutrition and sustainability, and will maintain direct involvement with its national and standing committees.

Processed Cheese Garners Attention

Several standing committees met in Paris as well, including the Food Standards and Labeling Committee where the Codex proposal to reconsider developing a standard for processed cheese garnered a good deal of attention. Currently there is no uniformity on the percent of cheese, the additives or ingredients used in processed cheese among the member countries. Because there are so many standards, it’s difficult to agree on one international standard, and countries don’t want to change their formulas without good reason.

IDFA is opposed to creating a universal standard because there are no safety or trade issues that would make the change necessary. The committee agreed to limit IDF engagement in the work being done by Codex to advising on technical issues, if needed.

“Codex has attempted to create a consensus standard for over a decade without success,” said John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards and new deputy chair of the committee. “We continue to believe efforts should be spent on other more important issues to Codex and international trade.”

During this meeting, new committee officers were selected. Meet the incoming and outgoing officers here.

Technical Activities and World Dairy Situation

Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, met with other members of the Science and Program Coordination Committee (SPCC), an IDF leadership group that oversees the technical work of all IDF task forces, standing committees and action teams, as well as all IDF conferences and workshops. At this meeting, the SPCC Committee continued discussions about the strategic refresh and set priorities for IDF technical work activities to align with the change in strategic focus.

Yonkers also attended the meeting of the Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics, which reviewed the global dairy situation and reports from individual IDF member countries. Committee members also studied the most recent edition of the IDF World Dairy Situation Report, a 230-page annual survey that includes production, consumption, trade and price figures from the dairy sector and other sources. The report is now available for purchase here. Download a PDF with highlights and a summary here.

"Our participation and leadership in IDF and its standing committees help to facilitate and expand global trade for dairy products," said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, who also attended the business meetings. “We participate to help IDFA members gain access to dairy markets around the world."

For more details on the meeting, contact Frye at or Allan at

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