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 better understand our organizations roots, I have provided this brief history of both the International Association for Food Protection and WAFFP, (WA Association for Food Protection).
In 1911 a group gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as they had mutual interest to improve sanitary processing and distribution of milk products throughout the United States. They reviewed sanitary conditions within the dairy industry and recommended various practices to improve the supply chain worldwide. Quality on the farm, processing facilities, distribution hubs and consumer handling was headed towards change. This group was dedicated tom implement change for clean milk in order to reduce disease.
Many cities and states passed regulations requiring sanitary practices, resulting in a decline of food borne illness. One challenge was the limited number of trained milk inspectors. It was the goal of this U.S. based group including delegates from Canada and Australia to provide the knowledge, science, training and uniform regulations nationwide. This led to the formation of The International Association of Dairy and Milk Inspectors.
The first United States “Pure Food and Drug Law” had just been passed and the need for such an organization was pivotal to assist industry in training to comply with such laws. The first annual convention was held in 1912.
In the 1930’s state affiliates of the international organization was established and in 1937 the Journal of Milk Technology became the official publication. This journal was instrumental in providing the latest scienced based 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 into 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 of the association exceeded 3,500 members from each state and 56 countries. Due to an increased membership of environmental sanitarians promoting food safety as well as IAMFS, the official name of the organization changed to “International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians.”
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 continued to grow. Twenty-nine affiliates were recognized within the association.
In 1980 the “Food and Fieldmen” magazine was published that was specific to fieldmen and sanitarians. As membership continued to grow, the annual meetings added exhibits starting at the1986 conference. Membership was comprised of 53% industry, 30% government and 17% academia. In 1987 an audiovisual lending library was established.
In 1993 professional development groups, PDG’s were formed to enhance 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 the following. “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 (WA Milk and Food Sanitarians Association) affiliate hosted the International Association of Milk, Food and Environmental Sanitarians annual meeting held in Seattle. This was the third time our affiliate hosted the annual meeting.
In 1999 the membership approved the associations name change to “International Association for Food Protection.”
The International Association for Food Protection has evolved into an internationally recognized food technology association. As technology has advanced for more than a century, we continue to provide and meet expectations of our valued 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 this mission throughout the Pacific Northwest.
–Mr. Bill Brewer