The International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene was founded at the World Congress on Microbiology of the IAMS (International Association of Microbiology – later the International Union of Microbiological Societies” or IUMS) in Rome, in 1953.
The first Committee was elected with the following members: Profs. Ingram and Buttiaux (Presidents), Dr. Betty Hobbs (Councellor-at-large), Prof. David Mossel (Executive Secretary).
The original “Mission Statement” was “…to draw together small groups of leading experts in particular fields of Food Microbiology, to arrive at a consensus document on subjects of primary interest to the discipline” This mission statement was accepted at the plenary session of the IAMS congress in Rome.
The ICFMH officially represents IUMS in all issues related to food, and has observer and/or advisory status in activities of FAO and WHO (e.g. Codex Alimentarius), ISO working groups related to the detection and enumeration of microorganisms in food commodities, etc.
As a result of new challenges, and changes within the international family of microbiological societies, the ICFMH gradually grew into an organisation with international activities in the field of Food Microbiology. In particular, the former smaller symposia and expert meetings have in developed towards what is presently known as the biennial (formerly triennial) “FOOD MICRO”-Symposia, with attendance of around 600 participants around the world.
The major scope of ICFMH is to contribute to food safety internationally, by means of symposia (e.g. FOOD MICRO), workshops, support of international bodies in food safety issues, publications (e.g. the IJFM), and by support and initiation of education and training in food microbiology. The ICFMH particularly focuses on the food safety situation in developing countries, with a special mission towards the African situation.
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