The christening ceremony for the newly-named food safety and quality lab.

Courtesy of Cornell University

The christening ceremony for the newly-named food safety and quality lab.

May 2, 2019

Cornell Celebrates Partnership with 3M, Christens CALS Food Safety Lab

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In a naming ceremony, embellished with a ribbon cutting ritual, Cornell and 3M celebrated their partnership by christening the existing Food Safety and Quality Lab in Stocking Hall in early April.

Improving food quality has been the primary focus between the five-year partnership between Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and 3M, a tech company that creates innovations for business and consumers to improve daily functions.

This goal of improving food quality is important because it can reduce waste produced from food recalls and decrease healthcare costs, according to Prof. Martin Wiedman, food science.

The laboratory is used primarily to enhance the microbiological safety and quality of foods, which will benefit both the food industry because of research and the consumers themselves, said Prof. Randy Worobo, food science, who is in charge of the lab. It is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

3M and CALS have collaborated on various projects in the past. In 2011, for example, they  worked to create a new molecular diagnostic system to test for salmonella, listeria and E. coli that could cut pathogen detection times from 72 hours to just 18. The two parties have also worked together to host food safety training programs at Cornell and abroad.

Cornell and 3M have common goals with regard to improving food safety and quality — and fostering a synergistic relationship that benefits both parties, Worobo said.

The partnership will also give Cornell access to 3M’s global network, which is also a resource that the Cornell community can utilize.

“Having access to 3M’s global network of technical experts is very valuable and has allowed our students and staff to work internationally, driving outcomes that improve food safety and quality across the globe,” Prof. Wiedman, food science, said in a university publication.

“3M’s access to Cornell expertise helps them in product development; working with Cornell experts also improves their ability to deliver world class training through-out the world,” he continued.

At Cornell, food science trains the next generation of food scientists to go onto fields in the food industry, regulatory agencies and academia.

“Food Science is a key program that not only contributes to the tremendous depth and breadth of Cornell research and teaching, but also translates the research to provide tangible quality of life improvements to populations around the world,” Wiedman said.