ANTALYA, TURKEY — The "11th International Congress and Exhibition" held by the Turkish Flour Industrialists' Federation (TFIF) on March 5-8 gathered flour industrialists, traders and suppliers, miller manufacturers, laboratory suppliers, manufacturers of bread and other bakery products, representatives of finance sector as well as respected academicians and experts from public and private sector.

The Congress and Exhibition was at the Antalya Titanic Deluxe Hotel, Antalya, Turkey, where TFIF hosted 600 national and international delegates from 15 countries. The main theme adopted was "Wheat and Health.”

Erhan Özmen, TFIF chairman, explained the current status in the domestic and international markets for the season of 2013-14 as well as his expectations for the season of 2014-15 and shared his knowledge indicating that the new season would be more efficient. He stated Turkey had closed the year of 2014 with 2.184 million tonnes of exports to 109 countries and approximately $931 million of foreign exchange inflow and thanked those who contributed.

Özmen also announced the opening of the new TFIF head office, inviting participants to the opening in April. He also pointed out the constructive cooperation and dialog of the top four sectors of the world: industry, university, public and media.

Ali Avci Vci, chairman of Cey Group, referred to the importance of wheat in human nutrition, emphasized the value of the chain of wheat-industrialization and logistics, and mentioned the investments for Samsunport under Cey Group.

Turkish Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock M. Mehdi Eker indicated how significant he considered the main theme of the congress, and reminded that for 12,000 years human had been eating wheat. The minister also emphasized the importance of wheat in human nutrition, and referring to the defamation campaigns against wheat, flour and bread, said food should be consumed sufficiently according to the needs, instead of rejecting them by category.

Eker spoke highly of the flour industry's progress in exports and expressed his appreciation.

Following the opening speeches, Ay?e Baysal, chairman of BESVAK, as the keynote speaker, indicated that people have always had bread on their table. The claims made in defamation campaigns were nonsense and were not based on scientific facts, and it was insulting to say "Do not eat bread.”

The first session of the congress under title "Wheat, Bread and Health" was moderated by ?rfan Erol, Food and Control general manager. The first speaker was Artun Ünsal, who told the history of wheat and pointed out the necessity to establish a "Museum of Flour and Bread Products.”

Nazan Yildirim, head of Department of Public Health Agency of Turkey, said the World Health Organization recommended consumption of whole grain products and mentioned some positive impacts of whole grain products on weight control, heart health protection, prevention of cancer and diabetes and digestive system problems.

Nevin ?anlier from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Gazi University, highlighted the importance of cereals for adequate and balanced nutrition. Cereals and their products ranked at the top in food consumption in Turkey, and he emphasized that whole grain flour provides dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, phenolic components, phytoestrogens, and vitamins and minerals.