Dr Nik Ismail Nik Daud
A Person who offers Food for Thought
One pleasure in life is to indulge in the many ways of taking our daily bread. But do we take the time to think about how the food came to be on our table? Do we ever think of the processes that went into making the food or the make up of that delicious dish that we can’t wait to devour? This is where experts like Dr Nik Ismail Nik Daud steps in. As President of the Malaysian Institute of Food Technology (MIFT), he feels that it’s about time Malaysians become more knowledgeable about the food we eat, and MIFT’s role is in providing such information.
So what is MIFT? It consists of graduates from food technology and related disciplines (biochemistry, microbiology, chemistry) where the common denominator is the involvement in one way or another in the practice of food technology. Its members come from the government, academia, research institutes and food industries. MIFT is also a member of Federation of Institutes of Food Science and Technology in ASEAN and an adhering member of International Union of Food Science and Technology. Since its inception 35 years ago, this scientific NGO
hopes to make itself relevant to society and establish closer ties with the public
has not made much noise as it tends to go deeper into issues with like-minded people rather than address the public on matters of national interests, like the introduction of new products or cases of food poisoning. This is about to change. Dr Nik Ismail stated that the direction of MIFT under his helm will undergo several changes that will revise the public’s perception of MIFT.
Foremost, MIFT aspires to be the preferred referral organization pertaining to food and as such it will reorganize itself to be more recognizable and improve its visibility to the public.
An estimated 500 students graduate yearly with qualifications in food technology. With such numbers, MIFT hopes to develop and enhance the human capital in food science and technology, to nurture them to become more knowledgeable, and in turn to provide highly skilled staff for the food industry.
Another role played by MIFT is to disseminate the wealth of information it stores in its depository on issues such as genetically modified food or the irradiation of food not only to its members but also to the general public. In this sense, MIFT hopes to make itself relevant to society and establish closer ties with the public.
However, Dr Nik Ismail does have one concern that he hopes can be overcome. He finds that many in the food technology field dare not move out from their comfort zone into management positions. They are too comfortable in their niche roles in technology rather than in becoming number one on the totem pole. It could be that their educational background does not prepare them to move into management, accounting or marketing or they are too absorbed in dealing with the many technical issues in the industry. Any combination of reasons could be behind this lack of ambition. This is a mindset that Dr Nik Ismail hopes to change during his tenure as President at MIFT.