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Celebrating 120 years of dairy expertise: proud to be Dairy​

IDF was founded in September 1903, during the first World Dairy Congress in Brussels. The original aims of the federation are much as they are today: to represent the dairy sector as a whole at international level by providing a global source of scientific expertise and knowledge in support of the development and promotion of quality milk and milk products so as to deliver consumers with nutrition, health and well-being.

For the last 120 years, IDF has contributed to the development of standards for the dairy sector and has closely collaborated with key stakeholders to share its expertise for milk and dairy products, with safe, sustainable and fair-trade practices at heart.

The creation of IDF was an act of innovation. It was so innovative that 60 years after that, the FAO and the WHO created Codex based on the standardization work that IDF had done with milk and dairy products.

120 years later, IDF is still developing dairy science, knowledge and innovation, and sharing them with the world through its publications, its awards and recognitions, and its events, like the IDF World Dairy Summit.

IDF has become a synonym of Dairy. That is why we not only say that we know Dairy. We are Dairy.

Messages from our community and stakeholders

FAO has been and will be your close partner to lead the transformation to more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems. For better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving no one behind. 

Dr Qu Dongyu


Food and Agriculture Organization 

From FEPALE, we send a strong and warm greeting to IDF for celebrating 120 years of tireless work for the development of the world dairy sector. We have many things and challenges in common for our sector, so we have a common path, which we must strengthen more and more.

Eduardo Schwerter


Pan-American Dairy Federation FEPALE

I’ve been working with IDF for over 20 years and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done, developing standards and guidelines that are a fundamental part of our dairy business.

Steve Holroyd

Principal Research Scientist

Fonterra Research & Development Centre

IDF is the strongest representative of Dairy Sector which represents and protects the interests of all its stakeholders from farmer to consumer.

Jashbhai Prajapati


Indian Dairy Association (West Zone)

The biggest advantage of the IDF is the network of experts, creating interaction between many people around the world, and building friendships!  Where we can discuss many issues from different point of views. 

Pierre Doyle

Executive Officer

IDF National Committee Canada

IDF plays a vital role in creating a better understanding of the beneficial nutritional value of dairy.

Andrew Hoggard

Board Member


As part of IDF’s networking benefits we’re able to multiply our impact in informing organizations, governmental agencies and generally increase the knowledge of how the dairy sector contributes to the environment and health. 

Andrew M. Novaković


Cornell University

Being part of IDF you learn about new ideas, innovations and developments in different countries which can be leveraged to take dairy sector forward.

Meenesh Shah

National Secretary

IDF National Committee India

IDF allows us to get together and learn from each other.

Ida Berg Hauge


IDF National Committee Norway

IDF’s efforts facilitate dialogue between stakeholders, promote the production and consumption of safe and sustainable dairy products, and help create a more inclusive and equitable dairy sector.

Arnold Puech D'Alissac


World Farmers’ Organisation

We must adapt to the challenges of a changing world. We can only do this by joining forces from the public and private sector to achieve a healthier more sustainable world that is well prepared for the future. Happy anniversary!

Dr Monique Eloit

Director General

World Organisation for Animal Health 


The global dairy sector faces many challenges these days. However, I’m convinced that generating and sharing knowledge, information and experience in an international network like IDF will help us move forward and find the solutions and opportunities we need.

Jurgen Jansen

National Secretary

IDF National Committee The Netherlands

On behalf of the entire board, team and members of the ICAR, I want to send IDF our warmest wishes for your 120th anniversary. Not only is the long-standing of IDF is something to celebrate, we also applaud your tremendous contribution to the development of standards for the dairy sector and close collaboration with key dairy stakeholders. Wishing you a wonderful anniversary year and many more years to come.

Marie Agnes Mourot

Chief Executive

International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR)

I’d like to wish IDF a very happy 120th birthday and wishing IDF all the best for the future.

Sharon Mitchell

National Secretary

IDF National Committee New Zealand

IDF has a very unique role. If we did not have standards in place, we would not be able to do trade. IDF has that status that allows us to bring dairy’s perspective and make sure that the science is there and used to make decisions that allows us all to trade fairly around the world.

Debra Wendorf Boyke

National Secretary

IDF National Committee U.S.

One of the greatest benefits of being a member of IDF, especially important in Japan, is the ability you work on non-competitive projects with the best technical expertise in the world. 

Richard Walton

Senior Advisor

Meiji Co., Ltd

IDF is a great opportunity for networking, it is a family. 

Sanne Bastholm

National Secretary

IDF National Committee Denmark

Being part of IDF is a unique experience, as it represents a global community, the diversity that is there is so enriching and the knowledge that is brought to the various topics that is relevant to the dairy sector.

Dr. Mike Johnston MBE PhD

Chief Executive

Dairy Council for Northern Ireland

From the very beginning IDF was the global benchmark in standard setting, in trade facilitation and in innovation fostering. You shaped todays’ world of dairy!

Giuseppe Ambrosi


European Dairy Association

Highlighting the major contribution that dairy makes to the world & committing to further improvement.

Key events in IDF history

IDF has a long and distinguished history of serving the global dairy sector. From the beginning of our journey to the current day, our aims remain the same – to nourish the world with safe and sustainable dairy.


The IDF journey begins

The International Dairy Federation, created to develop standards on milk and dairy, is founded in Belgium at the 1st International Dairy Congress on 8-11 September 1903. Its General Secretariat opens in Brussels.

First IDF President is appointed

Baron L Peers de Nieuwburgh of Belgium, serving as President to the Federation until 1921


6th International Dairy Congress

Regular meetings occur prior to the outbreak of WWI, including the 6th International Dairy Congress in Bern, Switzerland on 8-10 June 1914 (pictured). Wartime puts a halt to events in subsequent years.


IDF welcomes a new President

Mr J. Maenhayt van Lemberge of Belgium (1921-1940)


International Dairy Congress resumes

With WWI over, IDF begins its global meetings again. The 7th IDF International Dairy Congress was held in the US. Pictured a programme from the 1931 International Dairy Congress held in Denmark.


16 IDF member countries sign the International Convention for Methods of Analysis for Cheeses

Reflecting an increasing global need to protect the integrity of dairy, as well as to protect consumers.


IDF appoints its first non-Belgian President

Prof. Dr R. Burri of Switzerland (1940 – 1950)


IDF enters into a formal consultative status with UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Over the many years since then, IDF has maintained a close working relationship with FAO, established in 1945, in various fields of joint interest such as good dairy farming practices, animal health, hygiene and safety and dairy policies and economics, including several joint publications.


Adoption of IDF standard N°1

Having established itself as a leading expert in scientific methods for the dairy sector through its suite of International Conventions, IDF adopts IDF standard N°1, International Standard for the determination of fat in milk, by the Röse-Gottlieb method – the first of IDF’s many science-based globally harmonised standards, guidelines, codes of practice and related methodologies to continually improve regulatory environments for the dairy sector.

International organization status granted to IDF

The status of international organization is granted to IDF by Belgian Royal Decree, on 5 November 1955


Committee of Government Experts on the Code of Principles established

At the request of IDF, the Joint FAO/WHO Committee of Government Experts on the Code of Principles concerning Milk and Milk Products (predecessor of CCMMP, leading to GSUDT and dairy standards) is established (image shown from 1978)


First standards for cheese

IDF adopts its first standards for cheese, which will further be communicated to FAO


IDF begins its collaboration with ISO

IDF and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO – established in 1947) begin their longstanding collaboration to jointly develop and publish international standard methods for sampling and analysis for milk and milk products, which continues to this day.

First collaboration with Codex Alimentarius Commission

IDF has served as technical advisor to Codex since 1963, the year it was established.


Publication of the First Codex standard

For a dairy product was developed – Butter (CXS 279-1971 Formerly CODEX STAN A-1-1971), based on a proposal provided by IDF.


General Code of Hygienic Practice published

IDF publishes Bulletin 123 on General Code of Hygienic Practice for the Dairy Industry. This International Code provided guidance to countries in issuing their own regulations, in order to facilitate trade of safe dairy products. It would later be the base for the Codex text (2004).


The first IDF/ISO Analytical Week

An occasion for dairy scientists and professionals in the field of methods of analysis to meet and exchange on latest technical and technological findings, and the development of IDF/ISO international standards, held annually since 1998. Image shown from 2011 event.


World Dairy Summit

After almost 100 years and events around the world (and spanning two World Wars) IDF holds its first World Dairy Summit, which will ultimately replace IDF Annual Sessions and International Dairy Congresses. The IDF World Dairy Summit remains the world’s leading dairy event to this day (image from 2019 Summit, Istanbul)

New IDF governing bodies are created

Following the Strategic Review, new IDF governing bodies are created to align and guide IDF work – the Board of Directors and the Programme Coordination Committee (PCC) – along with the IDF working bodies – Standing Committees (SC) and Task Forces (TF). In 2007, the PCC changes its name to SPCC – Science and Programme Coordination Committee (SPCC).


IDF & ISO combine efforts

IDF and ISO agree to avoid duplication of efforts and fully harmonize the presentations of the IDF and ISO standard for methods of analysis. From this point on, a single version is published by both organizations, bearing the logos of both, and the ISO and IDF standard numbers.


100 years of IDF!

IDF celebrates this important event in IDF history on 9 September 2003 in Bruges, Belgium – the birthplace of IDF, and is joined by an important guest, patron of the IDF centenary in 2003, Albert II, King of Belgium. IDF publishes bulletin 387/2004 – The Dairy (R)evolution – 100 years change to mark the centenary.

IDF and OIE sign a formal agreement of cooperation

In May 2003, IDF and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) sign a formal agreement of cooperation to exchange knowledge and information on the dairy sector, veterinary research into diseases of milk producing species and aspects of animal health and zoonoses, animal welfare and food safety.


Publication of the first version of the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Milk and Milk Products

Publication of the first version of the Codex Code of Hygienic Practice for Milk and Milk Products, to apply the recommendations of the Recommended Code of Practice: General Principles of Food Hygiene to the particular case of milk and milk products, a vital document for the sector.


A common carbon footprint approach for the dairy sector

The IDF guide to standard life cycle assessment methodology is published, representing the first methodology for greenhouse gas (GHG) calculation in dairy production. A revised edition is published in 2015.


FAO LEAP Partnership was founded

IDF is a founding member of the FAO LEAP Partnership. Established in 2012 through a consultative process between FAO’s Animal Production and Health Division with three stakeholder groups (governments, private sector, and civil society) its overarching goal is to contribute to improved environmental performance of the livestock sector while considering social and economic viability.


FAO & IDF sign the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam

FAO and IDF sign the Dairy Declaration of Rotterdam on 19th October during the IDF World Dairy Summit, confirming the commitment of global dairy community (1 billion people) to the sustainable development of the dairy sector, for the benefit of both people and the planet.

IDF appoints its first female President

Dr Judith Bryans becomes the first ever female president of the International Dairy Federation.


IDF releases update on dairy terms guidance

Globally recognized, the Codex General Standards for Dairy Terms provide an internationally accepted framework to protect the integrity of milk and milk products. IDF Bulletin 507/2020: The Codex General Standard for the Use of Dairy Terms – Its nature, intent, and implications helps interpret the detail.

COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll across the globe, leaving no sector unscathed. Dairy’s place as a staple source of nutrition, whose traditions are deeply woven into societies all around the world, providing jobs and economic security for many families, is clear, as consumers around the globe turned to the comfort of the dairy foods they trust in these troubling times. IDF work to support the sector continues. To strengthen IDF’s ability to support and lead change during this difficult period, IDF initiates an extensive survey to gather data and learnings from the impact of COVID-19.


And beyond

IDF continues to respond to the dairy community’s expectations and requirements, looking to the future with strength, optimism, and an open mind, and knowing that the agility, creativity, and resilience of the dairy sector stands us in good stead.

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120 Years Gallery​

IDF has a long and distinguished history of serving the global dairy sector. From the beginning of our journey to the current day, our aims remain the same – to nourish the world with safe and sustainable dairy.

120 Years of IDF
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120 Years Corporate Souvenirs

IDF has a long and distinguished history of serving the global dairy sector.  From the beginning of our journey to the current day, our aims remain the same – to nourish the world with safe and sustainable dairy.

Souvenirs area coming soon