The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) today announced Christopher (Chris) Downs, PhD, as its 83rd president. IFT is a nonprofit scientific institute committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system. Downs follows IFT’s 2021-2022 President Vickie Kloeris, MS, CFS.

“Since the moment Chris became an IFT member in 2015, he has enthusiastically brought a global perspective and extensive knowledge as a science of food professional to IFT,” said IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean. “With the curiosity, compassion, and commitment to supporting the global science of food community Chris exudes, we’re confident he will make a significant impact in his role as president of IFT this year.”

Based in Australia, Downs currently serves as general manager for Crop & Food Science with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Queensland. Previously, he led the Food Program at Australia’s national science agency, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Throughout his 30-year career, Downs has worked with governments, universities, and industry partners around the world to bring the latest food system innovations to the market and consumers. 

“IFT has played a significant role in my career and life’s work, so it’s an honor to serve as president this coming year,” said Downs. “We are a passionate and knowledgeable group of professionals, spanning academia, government, and industry, committed to embedding the voice of science into our global food system. I look forward to working with our talented board of directors, dedicated volunteers, and members to promote and advance our work on a global scale.”

As an IFT member, Downs has served in various roles including the IFT board of directors, the IFT Strategy Working Group, the IFT Audit and Risk Committee, and IFT’s Cannabis Content Review Panel. He has also contributed to numerous panels and events at IFT’s annual meetings. He is a strong supporter of IFT’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy and is passionate about IFT engaging with food professionals from around the world. In addition to his work at IFT, Downs has served on several boards, including the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge in New Zealand.