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New High-Pressure Food Processor Unveiled At New York State Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station In Geneva

Ontario County Campus is Home to the Nation’s First High-Pressure Validation Facility for Foodborne Pathogens Investment Complements “Finger Lakes Forward” – Region’s Successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative Blueprint to Grow the Economy
(February 03, 2017)

New High-Pressure Food Processor Unveiled At New York State Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station In Geneva

Shari Voorhees-Vincent | | (585) 399-7055
Press Office | | (800) 260-7313

The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) announces that the New York State Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) is now using a new high-pressure food processor (HPP) that targets microorganisms which cause food to spoil and make people ill. The Hiperbaric 55 will help to set food safety standards through a process that will kill foodborne pathogens, dramatically extending the shelf-life of products without the use of heat or chemical preservatives.

The commercial-grade processor at Cornell is the first in the U.S. installed within a Biohazard Level 2 facility — which means researchers will be able to introduce pathogens to foods and test how well the pressure system kills them. That is especially important for manufacturers of fresh, packaged, ready-to-eat foods as consumers look for healthier choices but still demand convenience.

Cornell HPP Project Head & Food Science Professor Randy Worobo said, “The food industry is adapting high-pressure processing very rapidly because it retains the fresh-like character of the food products while guaranteeing safety by inactivating foodborne pathogens. At Cornell University, we have a long-standing history of working very closely with the food industry to help companies innovate and create new products, while ensuring the safety of the food. This is just another example of our collaboration fueling economic opportunities for companies while protecting consumers.”

High-pressure food processing takes ready-to-eat foods, already in their final packages, surrounds the packages with water then subjects them to isostatic pressure up to 87,000 pounds per square inch. For comparison, that’s more than six times the pressure at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest ocean trench on earth.

The State provided $600,000 as part of NYSAES’s Food Venture Center modernization, which is supported as an FLREDC priority project in the Finger Lakes Foward plan. Wegmans Food Markets, Lidestri Foods, Suja and the unit’s manufacturer, Hiperbaric also provided financing to enable the acquisition and installation of a state-of-the-art machine at the Geneva campus.

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Wegmans Food Markets CEO Danny Wegman and Monroe Community College President Anne Kress said, “Having this state of the art HPP equipment at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva is incredibly exciting. It will be used by food production companies across America and represents an extraordinary opportunity to support innovation and job growth and attract food companies to our region.”

Retired State Senator Mike Nozzolio said, “With this machine we take giant steps in our work to revolutionize the food processing industry and place the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and especially the Experiment Station in Geneva at its epicenter.”

In addition to testing samples for individual companies, Cornell researchers will be working to develop “microbial safe harbors,” which are essentially best processing recommendations for food manufacturers who deal with regulatory agencies tasked with ensuring food safety.

For more information on Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva click here.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward

Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.