Lots of Acronyms! – Codes of Conduct in Food Science

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is the primary professional organization for those involved in Food Science and Technology. Its members can include individuals from the food industry, government bodies, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. On their website, a Professional Code of Ethics is listed (1). The Professional Code of Ethics is geared towards Certified Food Scientists (CFS) and those that are seeking the credentials. I found it interesting that this Professional Code of Ethics is not broader in who it applies to as the majority of IFT members are not CFS. Many of the conditions are similar to those spoken about in class. One of the standards states that conduct that violates the Code of Ethics must be reported to the International Food Science Certification Commission (IFSCC). This body of individuals ensures that credential programs meet the standards of the International Standards Organization (ISO). There were also many points about avoiding and/or disclosing any conflicts of interests.

IFT also has a Code of Professional Conduct for its members (2). These consisted of six statements that were expanded upon in much further detail individually. The overarching themes included representing data/information in an accurate and unbiased manner and furthering the professional organization as a whole.

Also a professional organization, the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) serves a subset of the larger population of Food Scientists. IAFP specifically engages Food Scientists that are involved in food safety. Guidelines for Ethical Conduct have been established for its members (3). These guidelines were very similar to that of IFT, but there was an additional emphasis on collaboration, assisting colleagues, and giving credit to others when necessary. I liked the statements about collaboration because although we shouldn’t have to have a written code establishing fairness and effective communication with colleagues, it is fairly common to witness scientists wanting to keep their data to themselves instead of extending the work with other professionals or groups.

I attempted to see if the Department of Food Science and Technology here at Virginia Tech had their own code of conduct for students. The only thing I could find that was similar to a code of conduct were expectations found in the Graduate Handbook -a bit of a stretch. These expectations referred back to Virginia Tech’s policies again and again.

(1) http://www.ift.org/certification/forcandidates/code-of-ethics.aspx

(2) http://www.ift.org/about-us/governance/code-of-professional-conduct.aspx

(3) https://www.foodprotection.org/about/governance/


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