The Institute for Food Safety (IFS) at Cornell University is a center unique in its comprehensive approach for addressing current and emerging food safety issues. Harnessing Cornell’s existing strengths across food production systems in fruits, vegetables, and dairy foods, the IFS can integrate outreach, training and research to prevent foodborne illness in an innovative and pioneering way, optimizing product quality from farm-to-table.
As the pre-eminent source of information that helps growers and processors meet food safety challenges such as complying with new demands in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the institute will provide required trainings and certifications that will stimulate economic growth and create new market opportunities for the Empire State’s farmers, food processors, retailers, and food entrepreneurs.
Located at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) in Geneva, New York, the Institute will bring together diverse collaborators such as Cornell scientists and extension experts from across the fields of food science, horticulture, plant pathology, and entomology, as well as business development expertise from entrepreneurs at the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park.
- Further develop and implement comprehensive safety training programs that will allow NY fruit and vegetable grower and food processors to comply with the new FSMA regulations. These programs will include an emphasis on small and medium producers and processors that may face specific challenges with FSMA implementation.
- Support the establishment of the new High Pressure Processing Lab and Validation Center at the NYSAES.
- Identify specific food safety research for collaborative projects that will provide scientific data needed to implement FSMA regulations using strategies appropriate for NY and the Northeast. This is important as produce and dairy production and processing operations show considerable regional differences so that, for example, strategies that work in California cannot be assumed to also be appropriate for NY.
- Work with the NY Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence to develop an effective feedback loop that allows for findings from outbreak investigations to rapidly be translated into industry implementation of improved preventive strategies.
- Pursue and establish additional partnerships that will provide further support for the Institute. CALS will seek and develop partnerships with federal agencies, state agencies such as the Empire State Development Corporation’s CAT program, as well as foundations and industry as appropriate.
As we work together to strengthen and expand the food production and processing sectors in NY, the associated supporting industries will also flourish such as lab and field services, tracking and monitoring systems, food research and development, food safety equipment manufacture, auditing and certifying systems.