The International Conference of Food Science and Technology (ICFST) was first held at Wuxi Institute of Light Industry (now Jiangnan University) in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, P.R. China in 1991. The conference founders were faculty from Jiangnan University (JNU) andUniversity of California, Davis (UC Davis). Initial associations between faculty began with Zhang Wang, Shi-Yang Xu, and Wu Wang from JNU and Bor Luh and John Whitaker from UC Davis.
Zhang Wang and Shi-Ying Xu took sabbatical leaves at UC Davis in 1980 and 1982, respectively, a time that was very early for exchange between USA and China. Professors Wang and Xu are often considered as the founders of modern food chemistry in China. JNU is ranked No. 1 in Food Science and Technology and Fermentation Science by China’s Ministry of Education in China Discipline Ranking (CDR).
Many examples of joint programs have developed between UC Davis and JNU’s Food Science and Technology programs. One such collaborative program is the UC Davis Confucius Institute, that is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. It is the only Confucius Institute of the 525 such institutes worldwide that focuses on food and beverages, a result of our long-standing collaboration in this area. We would like to acknowledge the help of the UC Davis Confucius Institute and is staff as an important sponsor of this year’s ICFST. Other collaborations include the global studies program, Education Abroad, and an emerging research center in fermented foods and beverages. This is the third ICFST to be held at UC Davis. Others have been held at Jiangnan University, Wuxi, except when held in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and Singapore, in 2005, 2011 and 2016, respectively. These conferences served as a model for the China’s Food Summits, a biannual national conference between the USA’s Institute of Food Technologists and The Chinese Institute of Food Technology. The ICFST has served as an important and effective link to building “collaborative bridges” for sharing food science research and future visions in food science and technology. In recent years, the majority of these bridges involve students, as is evident by the participants in the 12th ICFST. Jiangnan University celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2013.