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Olga Padilla-Zakour

Olga Padilla-Zakour

Professor and Chair

124 Food Research Laboratory & 251 Stocking Hall
(315) 787-2259

Professor Olga Padilla-Zakour is the Director of the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at Cornell University. She obtained her B.S. in food science from the University of Costa Rica in 1983 and her doctorate in Food Science and Technology from Cornell University in 1991. She devotes her time to mentoring students and colleagues, supporting the food industry, and conducting applied research enhancing the safety and quality of plant-based food products.

Research Focus

Research program focused on applied research in support of my extension program to add value and safety to agricultural commodities. Emphasis on developing new products/processes, improving or retaining quality in processed foods, increasing economic viability of farm-based ventures, and identifying the key the factors that affect the safety of specialty foods manufactured by small-scale processors.

Outreach and Extension Focus

Direct the NYS Food Venture Center, a major extension program of the Department of Food Science. Coordinate and develop outreach programs and extension activities to support new and established entrepreneurs in the food industry. Provide guidelines and assist in regulatory issues to ensure the safety of food products. Act as Process Authority to issue schedule process documentation for new processors’ licensing requirements (>1000 products/year). Develop and implement training programs for food entrepreneurs. Organize and teach Better Process Control Schools annually. Develop and maintain the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship at the Food Venture Center website: http://necfe.foodscience.cornell.edu/

Awards and Honors

  • IFT Fellow (2014) Institute of Food Technologists
  • Elizabeth Fleming Stier Award (2013) Institute of Food Technologists
  • William V. Hickey Memorial Award (2013) New York State Association for Food Protection
  • Food Safety Award to Cornell Institute of Food Science (2010) GMA The Association of Food, Beverage and Consumer Product Companies

Presentations and Activities

  • Use of PL and UV as part of hurdle treatments for microbial inactivation in food systems. Does the treatment order matter? International Nonthermal Workshop. October 2014. The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH.