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Six ILSI Latin America branches came together in Bogotá to outline opportunities for closer interaction.

As we say very frequently at ILSI, one of our strengths is our international network. In October 2016, ILSI branches in Latin America capitalized on this strength by hosting their first-ever regional meeting.

Even though the initial steps for establishing ILSI and its ultimate incorporation nearly 40 years ago were made in the United States, ILSI always recognized that health and science are borderless concepts. We also realize health decisions are often made locally. ILSI’s network is consciously designed so that science – no matter where it is generated – can be applied in national or regional context.

Today, the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, the ILSI Research Foundation, and 17 regional or country-specific branches, work together to provide a flexible mechanism for identifying emerging issues, fostering a harmonized use of science, and building scientific capacity at the local level.

Six of those branches are in Latin America.

Latin America is a vast region stretching from the US – Mexico border to the near-Antarctic regions of Argentina and Chile. It includes several countries in the Caribbean. There is immense diversity among the region’s nations in terms of culture, political systems, and economic development. Countries and regions within the region have unique public health and environmental issues and concerns.

On this latter point, however, the ILSI Latin America branches have recognized they also share much in common, especially when it comes to addressing human health and wellness and ensuring a safe and sustainable environment. Their regional meeting was a result of this recognition and all six branches were represented:

  • ILSI Argentina;
  • ILSI Brasil;
  • ILSI Nor-Andino;
  • ILSI Mesoamerica;
  • ILSI Mexico;
  • ILSI Sur-Andino.

In addition to discussing organizational issues related to good branch governance and communications, the branches identified three topics for cooperation and collaboration. These are:

  • Comparing and improving food composition databases in the region
  • Risk assessment capacity building
  • Better understanding how food science and food technology help ensure a safe and nutritious food supply.

This last issue is, in part, an extension of interest in food science and technology to deliver foods with bioavailable fortificants; an issue on which the branches work individually and on which some have previously collaborated.

There is added context because the term “processed food” is increasingly being seen as inherently negative.

ILSI Nor-Andino, which hosted the meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, also organized the symposium “Safe and Nutritious Foods: The Role of Food Science and Technology in Food Security” at which speakers from several organizations addressed a complete range of issues related to the food science and technology. Copies of speaker presentations are available here. Please note, these presentations are in Spanish.

History and contribution of food science and technology
Magda Ivonne Pinzón
Universidad del Quindio

Foods: What are they and how are the classified?
Liliana Peralta
Universidad de la Salle and Colombian Association of Nutrition Faculties

Science as the basis for food regulation
Jairo Romero
Latin American Caribbean Food Science and Technology

Food additives
Martha Bahamón
Colombian Association of Science and Food Technology

Food and water safety in relation to food and nutrition security
Martha Pinto
Food and Agriculture Organization

Food-borne illness in Colombia
Jaime Guerrero
Instituto Nacional de Salud, Colombia

Colombian consumer perception of the nutrition label (presentation unavailable)
Yibby Forero
Institute Nacional de Salud, Colombia

Importance of transforming raw materials into safe and nutritious foods: Case study on cereals
Carmelo Melito, Polar Venezuela

Food trends (presentation unavailable)
Sara Valdés
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and ILSI Board Trustee

Challenges, perspectives, and trends in food technology
Airton Vialta
Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos, Brasil

ILSI News | February 2017
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