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State funding helps Cornell expand food safety capacity

Olga Padilla-Zakour, Kathryn Boor, state Senator Michael Nozzolio, Susan Brown and Betsy Bihn. Picture: Patrick Cameron

A Cornell University center is to expand commercialization capabilities with $1m in state funding.

Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, will grow its food development and technology capacity.

State Senator Michael Nozzolio and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences said the funding will advance NYSAES’ equipment and product development, food safety verification and training.

“The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station is a comprehensive resource for a wide range of basic and applied research that serves our farmers and food industry, from breeding new plants for the field to keeping foods safe to the plate,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The NextGen Food Technology Initiative brings technologies such as non-thermal processing equipment, to preserve and extend the shelf life of active, natural ingredients in food.

Cornell will also develop technologies for food safety validation tests required of processors as they comply with stricter mandates from the Food Safety and Modernization Act.

Included in the grant is pulse electric field technology. Instead of using heat, the non-thermal process uses low levels of energy at fast rates to extract juices from fruits, vegetables and foods that previously had to be discarded.

The equipment can extract components from waste material, such as apple or grape pomace, to create juices that retain flavor and nutrients.

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