Senator Nozzolio Makes Major Funding Announcement for the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station

Michael F. Nozzolio

September 16, 2016

New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio announced today a major advancement in food innovation for The Institute for Food Safety’s Food Venture Center at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. 

Senator Nozzolio was joined by Cornell University’s Dr. Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Dr. Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. 

The latest funding secured by Senator Nozzolio will enable the Station’s Food Venture Center, part of The Institute for Food Safety, to purchase innovative food processing and packaging equipment that will meet growing consumer demand for foods produced safely, with non-thermal pasteurization and minimal preservatives, and will serve as a major component of the newly created Institute for Food Safety.

“It is critically important that our food travels from the farm to our table at the highest levels of safety possible,” said Senator Nozzolio. “Our efforts to enhance The Food Venture Center and establish The Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva will significantly contribute to the safety essential to the important and complex multifaceted business of growing, handling, selling, preparing and processing food.”

Senator Nozzolio continued, “By investing in NextGen Food Processing Technology, we will bring innovative cutting edge equipment that no other institution has to Geneva and the Finger Lakes. The newly created Institute for Food Safety will, as a result, be stronger than ever and continue the work that needs to be done to truly capitalize on the continued job growth in the food and farm sector, the most important, and by far, the largest elements of our economy,” continued Nozzolio.

The goal of the NextGen Food Tech Initiative is to leverage recent investments Senator Nozzolio has brought to the Station, including the acquisition of a Hiperbaric or High Pressure Processing (HPP) food safety and processing machine, which will be fully operational and ready for business in the fall of 2016, and the newly formed Institute for Food Safety. These transformative investments, including the NextGen Food Tech equipment, will ensure that the Food Venture Center can continue in the future to be the food innovation hub that it is today.

“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 Dean Kathryn Boor. “Thanks to the incredible support of Senator Nozzolio and New York State, we are able to transform the Geneva campus into an unparalleled hub for food system innovation.”

“Senator Nozzolio’s funding of this new equipment, as well as for The Institute for Food Safety, positions the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station as a pioneer in the “clean label” movement and will continue our leadership in food safety training and research,” said Dr. Susan Brown. “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.”  

These equipment purchases will be used by Cornell University’s food scientists to provide process authority and food safety validation tests needed by food processors, to bring products to market and conduct food innovation research in the newly renovated Food Venture Center. The equipment will do the following:

—Create opportunities for local, national, and multi-national food processors to test, validate, and create new food products by utilizing modernized and unique Station equipment and technical knowledge;

—Allow New York food processors to take advantage of the “clean food” movement by allowing access to equipment that can extend the shelf life of the natural active ingredients in food products (reducing the need for artificial preservatives and commanding a higher market based price);

—Catalyze food innovation research by having all of the ground-breaking, state of the art food processing equipment in one place, creating synergies between the usage of the HPP technology and validating its safety, meaning new food products can be created safely from locally grown New York State ingredients; 

—Enable local food processors to test non-thermal pasteurization equipment, reducing food safety risks while preserving taste and quality and gain market share for local food producers;

—Allow the Station to be the leader in testing and developing new technologies needed to assist growers in complying with the mandates of the federal Food Safety & Modernization Act;  

For over 100 years, the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva has developed revolutionary technologies essential to feeding the nation and world, and continues to strengthen our local and state economies. The Station provides services to millions of New York’s consumers, agricultural producers, food businesses and farmers. The purchase of this new equipment will provide the necessary tools for the Experiment Station to remain on the cutting-edge of food processing developments.

Two years ago, Senator Nozzolio successfully secured $3.4 million in State funding to begin a major expansion at the Experiment Station. This expansion, when completed, will help to create local jobs and will contribute greatly to the region’s reputation of being a leader in the industry. This funding is being used to modernize the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Pilot Plant, the cornerstone facility in which The Food Venture Center carries out product and business development operations. The Food Venture Center annually serves over 3,000 companies per year, many of whom are startup food processing businesses. 

“We are fortunate here in the Finger Lakes to be home to one of the world’s top agricultural research centers. Funding the NextGen Food Tech Initiative, along with the other investments that have been made at the Station, will help provide farmers and food processors, as well Cornell scientists, with new opportunities to expand and grow New York’s farm and food community,” concluded Senator Nozzolio.