The Washington Association for Food Protection is an affiliate of the International Association for Food Protection whose objective is the Advancement of Food Safety Worldwide. To appreciate where we, (WAFP) came from it is necessary to provide a brief history of the organization of the International Association for Food Protection and the need for its existence.

In 1911 a group of men, that had a mutual interest in the improvement of the sanitary production and distribution of milk and its products throughout the nation, gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They reviewed sanitary concerns within the dairy industry and devised various procedures to correct the distribution of unsanitary dairy products worldwide. Quality on the farm,  processing plant sanitation, distribution and consumer handling was lacking. Improvements were needed at each one of these steps. There was a genuine need for clean milk, not cleaned milk. The lack of sanitation resulted in milk borne diseases throughout the nation.

Many cities and states had passed regulations requiring that sanitary procedures and conditions be followed in order to prevent the spread of disease. The problem was that the procedures and the few milk inspectors lacked the knowledge to properly convey necessary advances to produce, process and distribute a sanitary and safe product. It was the goal of this group in the United States, along with delegates from Canada and Australia, who were knowledgeable in the fundamentals of producing and distributing a quality dairy product to provide the knowledge, sanitary procedures, training and uniform regulations nationwide necessary for safe dairy products. Thus, the International Association of Dairy and Milk Inspectors was formed.

The first United States “Pure Food and Drug Law” had just been passed and the need for such an organization was needed to assist the industry with teaching and training of methods necessary to comply with these new laws. The first Annual Convention to begin this process was held in 1912.

In the 1930’s state affiliates of the International organization were established and in 1937 the Journal of Milk Technology became the official publication. This journal was instrumental in providing the latest information to the membership and all interested in dairy technology. In 1938 the association name was changed to International Association of Milk Sanitarians.

In 1941 the membership had grown to 1,146 members and included 43 states as well as several foreign countries. In 1946 there was interest to include food and restaurant sanitarians in the Association resulting in yet another name change to “International Association of Milk and Food Sanitarians” (IAMFS). The official publication was also changed to the “Journal of Milk and Food Technology.”

By 1952 membership in the Association exceeded 3,500 members from each state and 56 countries. Affiliates numbered 19 representing 23 states. Due to the increasing number of Environmental Sanitarians involved with the protection of food as well as their association with IAMFS, the membership voted to change the official name to “International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians” in 1963.

In 1977 the Journal of Milk Technology was changed to the “Journal of Food Protection” with an increased number of scientific articles added to the publication. By 1978 membership in the association was 2,300 with 29 recognized affiliates.

In 1980 the “Food and Fieldmen” magazine was published with topics of interest specific to dairy fieldmen and sanitarians. In 1981 the name was changed to “Dairy and Food Sanitation.” As attendance continued to grow, the annual meetings added exhibits starting with the 1986 conference. Association membership was comprised of 53% Industry, 30% Government and 17% Academia. Total membership exceeded 3,600. In 1987 an audiovisual lending library was established.

In 1993 Professional Development Groups, PDG’s were formed to enhance program development for future annual meetings. Meat, seafood and poultry were among the first “PDG’s established.  The board of directors approved the Associations mission statement to read, “To provide food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply.”

In 1995 Professor Ann Draughon from the University of Tennessee became the first woman to become president of the association.

In 1996 our affiliate, Washington Milk and Food Sanitarians Association hosted the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians 83rd Annual Meeting held in Seattle. This was the third time our affiliate hosted the annual meeting. The 43rd annual meeting was held in 1956 in Seattle, and the 68th annual meeting was held in Spokane in 1981.

In 1996 the “Dairy and Food Sanitation” journal changed its name to “Dairy, Food and Environmental Sanitation.” By 1999 the membership approved the associations name change to “International Association for Food Protection.” Al legal and internal details were in place as the association entered the year 2000.

As the Association enters a new century, The International Association for Food Protection has evolved into an internationally recognized food technology association around the world. As technology advanced over more than 95 years of the association’s existence, we continue to provide and meet the expectations of our 3,000 members. The association continues to foster its mission, “To provide food safety professionals worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the food supply.” The Washington Association for Food Protection is a proud affiliate of IAFP and assists in promoting that mission throughout the Pacific Northwest.

By: Mr. Bill Brewer