June 10, 2005

International Health Food Association

Joel Zukovski

The International Health Food Association (IHFA) is a service
of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists dedicated to encouraging
the production, distribution, and promotion of foods and meat substitutes that
are palatable, nourishing, and affordable to assist the goal of healthful living
in harmony with the nutritional philosophy promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist

This is the mission statement of the IHFA, and the center of
all the activities of the Seventh-day Adventist food factories worldwide. These
factories annually produce and distribute more than 300,000 tons of cereals,
bakery goods, soy milk, and vegetable protein in several regions of the world.

John Harvey Kellogg, one of the early administrators of the
Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan (USA), developed different types of foods
for the purpose of preventing disease and maintaining the health of the sanitarium's
patients. He is often recognized as the originator of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church's food industry.

Today most of the maladies of the world's industrial countries
are directly related to the way their citizens feed themselves. Obesity, heart
disease, cancer, diabetes, and high cholesterol all find their root causes in,
and are aggravated by, a poor diet. A new vocabulary has entered the modern
lexicon, with words such as nutraceuticals, functional foods, phytochemicals,
low carbs, low sugar, low fat. But this new awareness of the problem, and even
new ways of dealing with it, have done little to change the overall effect.
Seventh-day Adventist health food industries are still doing a necessary work
through their food factories.

IHFA factories benefit the church in the strong financial support
they give the church for its missionary and outreach programs. Millions of dollars
flow to the church each year as tithe, college/university appropriations, and
funding for capital projects.

In addition to producing food, in many places factory personnel
present seminars, school nutrition programs, and vegetarian cooking classes.
In the African country of Tanzania, for example, the IHFA operates a food factory
to help fill the huge need for general nutrition, and for children at risk of
basic mineral and vitamin deficiency, in particular. Large numbers of young
people earn tuition for their Adventist education by working in our factories.

Ellen White wrote, "The health food business should be
regarded as God's gift to His people" (The Health Food Ministry,
p. 56). That is how we in the IHFA factories regard the work that is being done
by Adventist health food factories around the world.