Cornell–3M partnership on food safety continues
The 3M Food Safety and Quality Lab, which will be overseen by Randy Worobo, Professor in the Department of Food Science, will largely focus on reducing food spoilage and consequently the food industry’s environmental impact. Kathryn J. Boor ’80, the Ronald P Lynch Dean of CALS, explained that this will benefit both industry and consumers.
“The relationship between 3M and Cornell demonstrates how public–private partnerships benefit the university, our industry partners and global consumers,” Boor said.
Previous projects that Cornell’s Department of Food Science and 3M have partnered on over the past decade include publishing peer-reviewed research on Listeria detection, food safety training offered on Cornell’s Ithaca campus and abroad, and a handbook on food safety environmental monitoring, with chapters co-authored by researchers from 3M, General Mills and Cornell.
“Working with 3M has really helped us to deliver tools, like the environmental monitoring handbook, that will be used globally,” said Martin Wiedmann, the Gellert Family Professor in Food Safety. “Having access to 3M’s global network of technical experts is also very valuable and has allowed our students and staff to work internationally, driving outcomes that improve food safety and quality.”
Since 2014, they have collaborated on an annual two-day, hands-on food safety training program that has attracted attendees from more than 15 countries. This year’s workshop will use Cornell’s dairy plant and teaching labs to train food companies on environmental monitoring strategies to reduce food spoilage and food safety incidents.
John David, Global Scientific Marketing Manager for 3M’s food safety department, said with Cornell’s help the company has developed faster, easier to use and more accurate molecular testing technology for food producers to test for foodborne pathogens.
“In working with our customers around the world, we understand that they need more than just the training on how to use our products. Education and training on food safety practices, such as environmental monitoring, is increasingly important as the industry continues to evolve due to new regulations and globalisation,” David said. “Working with our partners at Cornell — global experts in their fields — I believe we’ve really made a positive impact on the industry through these efforts, which ultimately helps to keep food safe and protect consumers.”
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