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 Church."

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.

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