New York State Senator Mike Nozzolio, R-Fayette, announced September 14 that Cornell University’s Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY will receive $600,000 in state funding for food processing equipment that is expected to “revolutionize” the food processing industry. The money will go towards a state-of-the-art Hiperbaric 55 High Pressure Processing machine.
While robotics are leading innovation and job decline in other fields, this machine is being touted as a way to conduct research that could expand new markets for locally grown agriculture, and create new jobs not only in the local Finger Lakes region, but throughout New York State. A very good thing considering the six-figure price tag is the equivalent of the yearly salary of about 24 average U.S. production workers ($11.95 per hour).
Essentially, the machines sensors and controls uses high pressure as opposed to high temperatures to eliminate food-borne pathogens. This new method of providing food safety certification will place the station at the “epicenter of the food processing industry,” according to Nozzolio. In a statement he classified the move as:
“An extraordinary opportunity to promote innovation in Geneva, and job growth for New York food processors, especially in the Finger Lakes region … High Pressure Processing research and testing capacity located right here at the Experiment Station in Geneva is a win-win situation for our local food processors who will now have immediate access to the state-of-the-art food processing technology.”
Specifically, the new technology will be beneficial to the grape and dairy industries. These foods will potentially hold more nutritional value as a result of using this method over traditional heating ones. One of the other benefits is the extended shelf life of the products.
The industry employs about 79,000 people and is the second largest packaging division in the U.S. holding approximately 18% of the market. This new piece of food processing equipment could help these efforts greatly.
Cornell President, Elizabeth Garrett, is thankful and appreciative of the states decision to provide the new food processing equipment’s funding.
“We sincerely appreciate Senator Nozzolio?s efforts to secure funding for this important technology that resonates with Cornell?s Land-Grant mission to advance the common good,” Garrett said. “The addition of High Pressure Processing capability to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva will enable Cornell researchers to open new frontiers for food safety while boosting the competitiveness of New York?s food processors.”