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UGA food science building set for grand opening

By Cat Holmes
University of Georgia

The University of Georgia Department of Food Science and Technology will mark the completion of a $4.2 million building addition and the $2.4 million renovation of its previous facilities with an open house and ribbon cutting in Athens Sept. 5.

"The improvements to the food science building will make UGA even stronger in the field of food safety," said UGA president Michael F. Adams. "The safety of our food supply is critically important. I'm proud that the University of Georgia is poised to make a real difference."

"The addition and renovations will enhance food science research and extension outreach capabilities," said Gale Buchanan, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

State-of-the-art labs

The addition houses four state-of-the-art microbiology labs. In three biocontainment level 2 labs, researchers can work with foodborne pathogens like Listeria, E coli 0157:H7, Salmonella and Campylobacter. In the biocontainment level 3 lab, scientists can work with more restricted foodborne hazards like botulism.

"This is a new capability for the Athens campus and will certainly further our ability to do cutting-edge food safety and food-processing research," said Rakesh Singh, food science and technology department head.

"The additional facilities, along with our recently renovated food-processing pilot plants, greatly improve our ability to conduct programs designed for economic development," he said.

Outreach classrooom

A new extension outreach classroom, which can seat 70 people, serves a variety of needs: short courses, workshops and certification programs. It has been in use since June and the first two programs were filled to capacity.

"Many of these programs are designed to help small businesses get on their feet, while others focus on bringing industry personnel up-to-date," Singh said. "But they're also for anyone who is interested. We work with a lot of nontraditional students, small-business folks and industry folks."

The addition was funded through the Georgia Food Processing Advisory Council. FoodPAC is a group of Georgia state agencies, colleges and universities and private food businesses. It supports Georgia's food processing and allied industries.

Program

The open house and ribbon-cutting celebration features a 10:30 a.m. program with Adams, Buchanan, Singh, Georgia Poultry Federation President Abit Massey, Georgia Agribusiness Council President Gary Black and food sciences graduate student Beth Bland.

Tours will follow at 11 a.m. Refreshments will be provided. For more on the event, call (706) 542-2574 or e-mail marianw@uga.edu.

(Cat Holmes is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(Cat Holmes was a science writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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