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Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Food science makes waves abroad

By Dr Riette de Kock & Phindiwe Nkosi

Posted on 05 June 2009

Three of the University of Pretoria’s Department of Food Science’s students have been selected as finalists in the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Student Association (IFTSA) Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, Jeanne Whittal and Tatenda Nyakabau, all BSc (Hons) in Food Science students will be keeping the University’s banner high at the IFT conference that takes place 6-9 June 2009 in Anaheim, California.

One of the aims of the competition was to encourage students to use food science and innovative thinking as tools to improve the development, safety, and distribution of food in developing countries. To enter, the group had to submit a preliminary proposal detailing their development of a new product or process targeted at improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. As finalists they had to compile a full report and will also present this at the IFT conference.

“We are passionate about Food Science and perhaps that is starting to show. What is most captivating about this career path is that you get paid for being innovative and discovering new things. We are grateful to our Department and the University at large for making such opportunities available to us. The opportunities are plenty; it is really something worthwhile for the youth to pursue,” says the three finalists.

According to the students, they are doing the project as part of a module in Food Product Development and Quality & Safety Management and had the opportunity to enter the project for the international competition. In spite of being awarded a travel grant of $2000 to travel to America additional sponsorship to cover the cost is being sought for the group that outshone entrants from various countries.

"I want to congratulate you for being one of the top three finalists in the international division of IFTSA's First Developing Solutions for Developing Countries competition. We received 16 entries from all over the globe, (China, Mexico, South Africa, Italy, Indonesia, Netherlands, Columbia, Lebanon), " says Andrea Krause, Director of the competion.

Head of Department of Food Science, Prof Amanda Minnaar and senior lecturer Dr Gyebi Duodu will also attend the IFT conference as they will be presenting and participating in a session on the findings of the EU Marama II project.

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