The symposium on Food for Health: Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals, Organic Foods under the auspices of the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) was held from 21 to 23 May 2008 at Coimbatore.
The aim of the symposium was to sensitize entrepreneurs, researchers, academics and policy makers on global trends in the functional food, nutraceutical and organic food sectors; to identify challenges and opportunities for the growth of industry in these sectors; to create an awareness of the importance of innovative product development and the use of cutting edge production technologies; to study and develop standards to evaluate the quality and safety of products and also study regulations that govern the claims made by these products. Mr. P. I. Suvrathan, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries in his opening remarks provided a brief description of the Food for Health initiative and stated that the creation of awareness among people on the relationship between health and diet and the proper dissemination of validated information was a key requirement.
Over sixty participants who attended the symposium comprised a healthy mix of representatives from the public and private sector. They included ministry officials, academics, senior executives from private firms, and representatives from various NGOs involved in grassroots agricultural development. The participants were addressed by an eminent faculty comprising professors from the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, senior policy makers from various government bodies and also the United States Department of Agriculture, and senior consultants from Sathguru.
A key segment of the symposium was a breakout discussion by various groups comprising participants and faculty. The topics discussed were on the sourcing, development and adoption of technology for health foods; regulatory issues in functional foods and nutraceuticals; strategies for value addition, regulation and international market development for organic foods and the strategies for accelerating investment in health foods. The initiative was carried out jointly by NIFTEM and Cornell-Sathguru Foundation.