The Food Processing and Development Laboratory

Experienced full time staff professionals are able to assist in all aspects of food product development and processing.

You can visit our facilities and work collaboratively with our personnel, or the staff of the FPDL can process your product to your specifications and ship it to you overnight. Customized pilot plant product runs can be conducted with our established access to ingredients and raw materials.

Our 6,000 square foot main processing area is located adjacent to our fully licensed operating dairy plant. This combination allows for scaling up of production in order to provide a variety of products for customer demonstrations, food shows, and exhibitions.

Cornell University's research and extension staff provides our clients a resource to find answers to tough research and development problems.

Use of the Cornell Food Processing Development Laboratory (FPDL)

The Cornell Food Processing Development Laboratory (FPDL) offers a unique food product development and manufacturing space that allows individuals and companies to perform research, develop new products, and start new food related businesses. Recognizing the diverse needs of industry, we offer an opportunity to utilize this facility under four different types of arrangements that are detailed below.

1. Product Testing

For small scale pilot research projects that can be completed in 100 days or less. FPDL staff and students are available to provide oversight and/or assistance with the project. Clients are required to sign a Cornell University Routine Product Testing Agreement and submit the following:

  • Client Registration form - new clients only
  • Copies of relevant workman’s compensation and product liability insurance
  • Ingredient list and batch record if product is being used for human consumption (e.g consumer panels)
  • Signed Cornell University FPDL Policies form
  • Signed Release/Indemnification of all Claims and Covenant Not to Sue form

2. Cheese and Dairy Product Incubator (Level I)

Designed for companies who do not have an existing facility, the FPDL can be used for initial product development and production. This includes a maximum of 100 non-consecutive days. The Cheese and Dairy Product Incubator (Level I) agreement is specifically designed to help Cornell achieve its Land-grant mission and to facilitate economic development in New York and adjacent states in order to grow upstate New York economy directly and indirectly (e.g., through providing additional outlets for raw milk produced by NY farmers). FPDL staff and students are available to provide oversight and/or assistance with the project. Clients are required to sign an FPDL Incubator Agreement and submit the following:

  • Client Registration form - new clients only
  • Copy of your company’s business plan
  • Ingredient list and recipe for each product made in the FPDL
  • Signed Cornell University FPDL Policies form
  • Signed Release/Indemnification of all Claims and Covenant Not to Sue form

3. Cheese and Dairy Product Incubator (Level II)

Designed for companies who do not have an existing facility, but have done prior product development or for companies that have an existing facility but require an outside facility for specialized needs, the FPDL can be used for product development and production. This includes a maximum of 100 non-consecutive days. FPDL staff and students are available to provide oversight and/or assistance with the project. Clients are required to sign an FPDL Incubator Agreement and submit the following:

  • Client Registration form - new clients only
  • Copy of your company’s business plan
  • Ingredient list and recipe for each product made in the FPDL
  • Signed Cornell University FPDL Policies form
  • Signed Release/Indemnification of all Claims and Covenant Not to Sue form

4. Short-term Manufacturing and Product Development

For small scale pilot production (e.g. identifying processing issues, optimizing processes prior to large scale manufacturing, samples for market research) that can be completed in 50 days or less. FPDL staff are available to provide oversight and/or assistance with the project. Depending on the scope of the project, clients are required to sign either an FPDL Short-term Manufacturing and Product Development Agreement or Cornell University Routine Product Testing Agreement pdf and submit the following:

  • Client Registration form - new clients only
  • Ingredient list and recipe for each product made in the FPDL
  • Signed Cornell University FPDL Policies form
  • Signed Release/Indemnification of all Claims and Covenant Not to Sue form

Contact Information

Robert Ralyea, General Manager

Food Processing & Development Laboratory
190 Stocking Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7201
Phone: 607-255-7643
Fax: 607-254-4868
Email: rdr10 [at] cornell.edu

Mackenzie Brown, Lead Technician

Food Processing & Development Lab
B90 Stocking Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Email: mb2269 [at] cornell.edu