Food In Canada

Sustainable innovation recognized at the Canadian Food Summit

Kristy Nudds   

Food In Canada Canadian food summit

Renamed the Canadian Food Summit for 2019, the 54th Canadian Institute of Food Science & Technology’s (CIFST) national conference took place in Halifax, N.S., May 22 to 24 at the Westin Nova Scotian.

The theme of CIFST’s annual gathering of food science and technology professionals this year was sustainable innovation and featured thought-provoking sessions on topics such as emerging ingredients, nutrition and health, food processing, consumer attitudes, global food security, food safety, sustainable food systems, and food policy.

The conference offered food and beverage professionals plenty of networking opportunities, including a tour and a visit to the nearby Alexander Keith’s brewery. Plenty of time was allotted for attendees to speak with table-top vendors and students from academic institutions across Canada about their poster board displays.

The innovation theme was further highlighted by three excellent plenary speakers: Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, who gave an interesting talk on the plant-based eating trend and Canada’s new Food Policy; Stuart Smyth, research chair in agri-food innovation, University of Saskatchewan, gave attendees insight into how food and agriculture innovations are impacting global food security, and closing speaker Tareq Hadhad, CEO and founder of Peace by Chocolate, gave a heart-tugging speech on his family’s journey to Canada from war-torn Syria and how they established their thriving chocolate business in Antigonish, N.S.


CIFST also announced the 2019-20 board of directors after it held its annual general meeting of the members on May 23 during the summit:

The 2019-20 CIFST board of directors includes:

President – Mr. Robert Kowal, Kriscor & Associates

Past President – Dr. Michael Nickerson, University of Saskatchewan

President Elect – Dr. Amy Proulx, Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College


Mr. Louis Ayotte, Barry Callebaut Canada Inc.

Dr. Steve Cui, Guelph Research and Development
Centre, AAFC

Mr. Nasir Hameed, Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

Dr. H.P. Vasantha Rupasinghe, Dalhousie University

Ms. Jenny Tian, Canada Bread/Grupo Bimbo

Dr. Yvonne Yuan, Ryerson University

The top three student research posters are recognized annually by CIFST. Wasitha Thilakarathna, a PhD student in agricultural sciences at Dalhousie University, was the recipient of the first-place award in the graduate student poster competition at the 2019 Canadian Food Summit. His presentation was titled, “Postbiotics of proanthocyanidins exhibit cancer-preventive properties.” Second place was awarded to Divya Srinivasan from McGill University, for her poster “The type of dietary nanoparticles influences salivary protein corona composition and functions of protein enzymes.” Third place was award to Tiffany Fillier from Memorial University, for her poster titled “Elevated levels of short-chain fatty acids produced during gut dysbiosis is neurotoxic to brain cells.”

CIFST is the national association for food and beverage sector professionals. Its membership of approximately 1,000 individuals is comprised of scientists and technologists in industry, government and academia who are committed to advancing food science and technology. The 2020 Canadian Food Summit will be held in May in one of the Prairie Provinces. The location and program will be announced in the late fall. For more information, visit

10  July/August 2019

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