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$1M expands next-generation food technology at Geneva campus

By Matt Hayes
periodiCALS, Vol. 6, Issue 2, 2016

Olga Padilla-Zakour, professor and chair of the Department of Food Science, Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, state Sen. Michael Nozzolio '73, M.S. '77, R-54th Dist., Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, and Betsy Bihn, executive director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell. Photo by Patrick Cameron/Provided

Building on its capacity as a center for food product development and food safety innovation, Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., is poised to expand its food development and technology commercialization capabilities with $1 million in new state funding announced Sept. 16.

“With the support of Senator (Michael) Nozzolio, New York state and our private industry partners, we are turning this campus into a hub for food-system innovation,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Through the NextGen Food Technology Initiative, Geneva will acquire the latest technology for preserving nutrients, expanding product shelf life, and improving food safety, while helping producers respond to consumer demand for foods with fewer artificial ingredients, or “clean” labels. Specific technologies include low-temperature, high-pressure processing equipment; an electrospinning unit for encapsulating natural ingredients; and pulse electric field methods to extract juice and nutrients without the use of heat.  

The new initiative will be housed in the Food Venture Center, which is part of the Institute for Food Safety. The center serves more than 3,000 companies each year, including many start-ups.

“From researchers developing plants for natural dyes to scientists working with this new equipment to stabilize those colors, the station will be integral in helping New York growers and entrepreneurs meet consumers’ desire for simpler labels with familiar ingredients,” said Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the experiment station.