World Dairy Summit: 2013

Dr Phil Kelly reports on the International Dairy Federation’s World Dairy Summit 2012, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa.
calendar icon 30 April 2013
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Dr Phil Kelly, Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark and Secretary, IDF National Committee of Ireland. Correspondence: [email protected]

Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and environmental sustainability were a few of the expressions highlighted by some of the world’s top executives as major challenges facing the dairy industry at the World Dairy Leaders’ Forum during the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit 2012 which took place in Cape Town, South Africa, October 31 to November 8, 2012. The mega trends currently dominating the global dairy industry include the rise of emerging markets, social demographics, urbanisation and the rising demand for dairy’s nutritional benefits.

Dairy leaders appeared to be in agreement about the need to produce more on a worldwide scale, but with a localised approach in a global world. This stems from the imbalance of supply, emanating mainly from the developed world, and demand, estimated at 95% of future growth, to be found mostly in the developing countries. The 2012 Summit’s location in Cape Town noted the mismatch in Africa between countries on the supply side and demand by those with higher GDP. Developments in the USA now sees 50% of the country’s milk produced on farms with herds >1,000 cows, while dairy farmer numbers have reduced from 130,000 to 50,000 over a 10-year period.

Major IDF Dairy Science & Technology Conferences 2016

The successful, long-running series of internationally run conferences under the auspices of IDF were secured at the Cape Town business meetings to take place in Ireland in 2016. Teagasc is to co-host with INRA (France).

For the first time both the Cheese Ripening and Technology, and the Spray Dried Dairy Products (SDDP) Symposia will be run in parallel with the potential to attract up to 1,000 participants. This is a major scoop for the Irish dairy industry and recognises the standing of Teagasc researchers as keynote speakers at previous IDF conferences and as active delegates in IDF’s Standing Committee on Dairy Science & Technology (SCDST), including this writer as former Chair of the Standing Committee (2009-2011). The joint conference event is very timely as it coincides with the anticipated relaxation of EU milk quotas in 2015 and the projected expansion in manufactured dairy products such as cheese, milk powders, ingredients, infant milk formula and nutritional products.

Speakers who took part at WDS 2012 IDF ‘SWIFT’ conference (from left): Dr David Everett (New Zealand), Active Member of the IDF Standing Committee on Dairy Science and Technology; Dr Nico van Belzen (IDF Director General); Anne-Karin Edman (Sweden), Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment; Dr Kieran Jordan (Teagasc Food Research Centre Moorepark), Chair of the Standing Committee on Microbiological Hygiene; Michael Hickey (Ireland), Chair of IDF Science and Programme Coordination Committee; Richard Doyle (Canada), President of International Dairy Federation.

SWIFT Development

The “SWIFT” initiative (Speedy, Worldwide Visible, Impactful, Focused and Transparent) is a new driver for the further development of IDF.

SWIFT, an initiative of outgoing President of IDF, Mr Richard Doyle, reported on its implementation. Teagasc food safety researcher and Chair of IDF’s Standing Committee (SC) on Microbiological Hygiene, Dr Kieran Jordan, was applauded for the speed with which he steered his expert group to examine the ‘Significance of Shigatoxigenic E. coli (STEC) in dairy production for food safety’ and publish its findings in the International Journal of Food Microbiology. This microorganism is of primary importance to public health, though not all forms are pathogenic. The expert group highlighted multi-level complexity, e.g., the genetic make-up of STEC, definition of the pathogenicity of its strains and detectability in food. Control of STEC requires attention to good hygienic practices during milk production and adoption of appropriate measures along the entire food chain. The development of the first PCR-based ISO method was recognised as a major scientific advance and step forward in the harmonisation of different approaches. The review article is available for free download on the IDF website (Farrokh, C. et al., 2012).

New Method of Protein Quality

A new method of protein quality assessment was announced at WDS 2012 called Digestible Indispensable Amino Acids Score (DIAAS). The method was developed by New Zealand researchers and measures the digestibility of individual essential amino acids (EAA) in the small intestine. Protein digestibility measurement over the total digestive tract (PDCAAS) is now proven to be less accurate. Professor Paul Maughan (Riddet Institute, NZ) announced that DIAAS boosts the quality performance of dairy proteins by as much as 10-30%. High levels of EAA, amino acid digestibility and lysine bioavailability in dairy proteins makes them a vital food ingredient for managing protein energy malnutrition and supporting growth in young children. DIAAS is expected to be published shortly by FAO and will herald a sweeping change in how dietary protein quality is determined and described.

Results will impact the dairy industry, food assistance programs and current standards in therapeutic nutrition practice. Higher quality proteins mean that lower dosages meet dietary amino acid requirements and ensure better use of scarce food resources.

IDF Dairy Sustainability

Meetings of IDF’s Standing Committee on Environment and its constituent Action Teams (AT) updated its current work (see text box) and was accompanied by a one-day conference on dairy sustainability that highlighted policy adoption among its member countries (

Dutch Sustainable Dairy Chain: Targets 2020

Mr Jan Maarten Vrij, Dutch Dairy Organisation (NZO) gave an overview of sustainability initiatives in the Netherlands:

Climate and Energy

  • 30% reduction of greenhouse gases in 2020 as compared to 1990, including climate-neutral growth
  • 20% sustainable energy in 2020 and an energy-neutral dairy chain
  • 2% energy efficiency per year (1.5% factories and 0.5% chain), and a total of 30% energy efficiency in the 2005-2020 period, 2% energy conservation for cattle farmers each year

Animal Health and Animal Welfare

  • Reduction of antibiotic resistance. By 2013, antibiotic use should be back to 1999 levels.
  • Increasing average life expectancy of cows, particularly by the strong reduction of mastitis and lameness
  • 5% sustainable housing in 2011. By 2015, all new cowsheds will be fully sustainable.


  • Maintain current level of outdoor grazing

Biodiversity and the Environment

  • 100% use of RTRS (Round Table on Responsible Soy) certified sustainable soya and sustainable palm kernel expeller by 2015
  • Actions and measures that directly and indirectly influence phosphate release and ammonia emissions
  • Improving biodiversity


This article first appeared in TResearch magazine, Teagasc’s research and innovation magazine

Farrokh, C. et al. (2012) Review of Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia
coli (STEC) and their significance in dairy production’. International
Journal of Food Microbiology. Available online:

April 2013

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