IAOM Eurasia Conference

by Meyer Sosland
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More than 300 people from 27 countries attended the third annual International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) Eurasia District Conference, Oct. 19-21, in Bucharest, Romania. The IAOM event included a trade show and technical conference and was followed by a two-day seminar on flour fortification organized by the Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.-based Flour Fortification Initiative (see sidebar, page 76). 

In addition to a large contingent from Romania, milling industry representatives came from many other countries in the region including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Armenia in the Caucasus, and Kosovo and Serbia in southeastern Europe. The trade show drew 45 exhibitors, a significant increase compared to the first two Eurasia District meetings in Istanbul, Turkey and Almaty, Kazakhstan.

IAOM President Royal Denning expressed his satisfaction with the larger numbers versus last year but added, "We know that there are many millers in the region who may not be familiar with IAOM and the benefits of belonging to our association. We will continue to work on increasing IAOM’s visibility in Western and Central Europe."

In his conference-opening remarks, Denning stressed that IAOM, which is headquartered in Leawood, Kansas, U.S., should not supplant national milling associations but complement them by providing their members with access to global best practices, contacts to suppliers and networking opportunities worldwide.

Officials from Romania’s Ministry of Agriculture and the President of the Romanian Chamber of Industries welcomed the attendees on behalf of government and industry. They pointed out that milling has attracted much private investment since economic liberalization began in the 1990s, and that Romania will benefit from European Union funding to develop agriculture and grain processing.

The educational program ran the gamut from the use of satellite imagery for crop monitoring by GEOSYS to Chopin Technologies’ new Mixolab system for dough analysis. Buhler opened the program with a presentation on the evolution of milling technology. Frank Spalek of Agromatic discussed explosion risks in wheat handling and storage and the use of sensors to comply with European ATEX regulations.

The second day included short "What’s New?" presentations by Agrex SpA, Alapala, Chronos Richardson, Foss Analytical, Perten Instruments and Satake Corporation.

In the longer sessions, Eurogerm proposed inactive yeast as a flour correcting agent, and Kansas State University (KSU) presented a study on wheat tempering and surfactants. Akzo Nobel discussed the superior bioavailability of EDTA iron for fortified flour used in many foods. A second paper by KSU’s Jeff Gwirtz covered energy consumption in mills and practical steps for savings. Muehlenchemie reviewed the benefits of adding iron to flour, and Quentin Johnson of the Flour Fortification Initiative introduced the Miller’s Tool Kit manual as a guide to millers in flour fortification.

The District Leadership Council chose Moscow, Russia as the site of the 2009 IAOM Eurasia District Conference. The host organization will be the International Industrial Academy, a prestigious food industry institute that has trained leading millers in Russia and neighboring countries since Soviet Union era.

The Council also accepted an invitation to put on a workshop at the 60th annual meeting of the Association of Grain Industry Schools’ Graduates (AIMEC) in October 2009 in Troyes, France.

"AIMEC has a long-standing history, and we look forward to participating in their conference next year," Denning said.

David McKee is a grain industry consultant providing market research and other services to companies seeking to initiate business in new markets. He can be reached by e-mail at davidmckee59@msn.com.