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A&M prof’s address aims to impact world food policy

Joanne Lupton delivered keynote Friday to world symposium

Published: Sunday, November 3, 2013

Updated: Sunday, November 3, 2013 21:11

Joanne Lupton, Texas A&M nutrition professor, traveled more than 5,000 miles to deliver the keynote address at an international scientific symposium designed to influence worldwide nutrition policy Friday in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany.

The symposium is the fourth of its kind conducted by the international division of the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Lupton said the topic of her keynote address was bioactives, or molecules found in foods that have beneficial effects on health.

“I believe we should have a system for evaluating the strength of the science behind bioactives and their benefits to health so that we can make intelligent decisions as to whether we should be encouraging people to eat them or not, and how much we should be eating,” Lupton said.

Jimmy Keeton, head of the Texas A&M Department of Nutrition, said Lupton may have been able to influence policy regarding the use of botanicals in food through her keynote address.

“I was excited to give the talk because a large number of regulatory agency heads around the world were there, and it was an opportunity to devise [a] system of evaluation for bioactives on a global level,” Lupton said.

Keeton said conferences like this one help determine what policies are worth pushing for, and Lupton’s conversations with other nutrition experts could influence the direction of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science.

“Conferences raise questions related to a change in knowledge,” Keeton said. “For instance, maybe a combination of nutrients has a unique effect.”

In a strategic plan to influence policy, Jim Griffiths, vice president of scientific and international affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said the council planned its symposium so that it would be close in time and location to the Codex Alimentarius, a gathering of international authorities on food code organized by the United Nations World Health Organization, which starts Friday.

Attendees to the conference traveled from more than 17 countries and six different continents, Griffiths said.

Lupton said she had lunch and dinner with speakers from China, South Korea, Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina and the Netherlands.

Lupton said she is responsible for summarizing presentations from the symposium in a paper to be published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Texas A&M nutritional research can be applied globally, Keeton said, because it is not limited by geographic region. Keeton said diets vary worldwide and people from different areas can adapt the findings in international journals to their lifestyles.

Griffiths said the council chose Lupton as the keynote speaker because of her credentials, including her “robust research background on the effect of diet on physiology.”


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