Director of the Cornell Food Venture Center and Professor in Food Science, Cornell AgriTech Food Science
Olga Padilla-Zakour is a Professor of Food Processing in the Department of Food Science, Director of the Cornell Food Venture Center, Managing Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University, and is also the Food Science Program Leader at Cornell Agritech in Geneva, NY. Olga received her B.S. in food science from the University of Costa Rica in 1983 and her doctorate in Food Science and Technology from Cornell University in 1991. She joined Cornell as the Director of the Food Venture Center in 1997, to lead a premiere extension program of the Department of Food Science that coordinates and develops outreach programs and extension activities to support new and established food entrepreneurs, processes and farmers seeking to introduce new products into the marketplace. Olga is a recognized Process Authority in acidified and water activity controlled foods and was selected Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Fellow in 2014. She devotes her time to mentoring students and colleagues, supporting the food industry, and conducting applied research enhancing the safety and quality of plant-based food products.
Research is focused on applied research in support of the Food Science extension program to add value and safety to agricultural commodities. Emphasis on developing new products and processes to improve or retain quality in processed and plant-based foods, including thermal and non-thermal technologies for food preservation and up-cycling byproducts to increase economic viability of farm-based ventures, and identify key factors that affect the safety of specialty foods manufactured by small-scale processors.
Outreach and Extension Focus
- Direct the Cornell Food Venture Center, a major extension program of the Department of Food Science.
- Coordinate and develop outreach programs and extension activities to support new and established entrepreneurs in the food industry.
- Provide guidelines and assist in regulatory issues to ensure the safety of food products.
- Act as Process Authority to issue schedule process documentation for new processors’ licensing requirements (>1000 products/year). Develop and implement training programs for food entrepreneurs.
- Organize and teach Better Process Control Schools annually.
- Develop and maintain the Cornell Food Venture Center website.
Areas Of Expertise
- Food Entrepreneurship
- Food Processing
- Food Safety
- Fruit And Vegetable Processing, Juice Quality, Juice Technology. Specialty Foods
- Food Science and Technology
Presentations and Activities
- Use of PL and UV as part of hurdle treatments for microbial inactivation in food systems. Does the treatment order matter? International Nonthermal Workshop. October 2014. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH.
Cornell University - 1991
- Master of Science
Cornell University - 1988
- Lic (5 year degree)
University of Costa Rica - 1983
Awards & Honors
- IFT Fellow (2014) Institute of Food Technologists
- Elizabeth Fleming Stier Award (2013) Institute of Food Technologists
- William V. Hickey Memorial Award (2013) New York State Association for Food Protection
- Food Safety Award to Cornell Institute of Food Science (2010) GMA The Association of Food, Beverage and Consumer Product Companies
- FDSC 9900: Doctoral-Level Thesis Research
- FDSC 6960: Graduate Internship in Food Science
- FDSC 8900: Master's Level Thesis Research
M10H Stocking Hall (Ithaca, NY)
124 Food Research Laboratory
Geneva, NY 14456
oip1 [at] cornell.edu
Olga in the news
Cornell startup Antithesis Foods and Bactana were awarded NSF small-business grants, as Guard Medical raises $11 million in Series B investments and C2i launches a disease test in Europe.
- Food Science
- Applied Economics
Three student teams took home top honors and a total of $10,000 for creating meat alternatives that deliver on nutrition, creativity and sustainability at the finals of Cornell’s inaugural New Food Product Competition, held April 22 at Cornell...
- Cornell AgriTech
- Food Science