A primary goal of the Cooperative Extension System is to assist the food industry identify concerns and solve problems. Over the years, OSU Department of Food Science & Technology has made significant contributions to the Oregon food industry.

The mission of OSU's Value-Added Processing Extension Program is to aid in the promotion of a successful fruit and vegetable industry in Oregon through technical assistance and technology transfer.

We envision pursuing the following:

  • Research projects to answer industry questions and assist development of value-added products
  • Provide short courses and workshops to address immediate needs and concerns of industry
  • Foster student interest in the field of food science
  • Increase communication of current research, technologies and methods via websites, newsletters, and publications

This website provides...

  • Updated information on the important strategies to start value-added processing
  • Processing and packaging technologies for adding value to fruit and vegetable products
  • Resources in Federal and State regulations
  • Information about education programs, manufacturers and suppliers
  • Upcoming events in workshops and short courses

Yanyun Zhao
Professor and Value-Added Product Specialist

OSU Turns Winemaking Waste into Food Supplements and Flowerpots

Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered how to turn the pulp from crushed wine grapes into a natural food preservative, biodegradable packaging materials and a nutritional enhancement for baked goods.

The United States wine industry creates a tremendous amount of waste from processing more than 4 million tons of grapes each year, mostly in the Pacific Northwest and California, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wineries typically pay for the pulp to be hauled away, but a small percentage is used in low-value products such as fertilizer and cow feed.

"We now know pomace can be a sustainable source of material for a wide range of goods," said researcher Yanyun Zhao, a professor and value-added food products specialist with the OSU Extension Service. "We foresee wineries selling their pomace rather than paying others to dispose of it. One industry's trash can become another industry's treasure." (Read more)

Special Treatment

You're aisle surfing at a gourmet grocery store. A milk chocolate bar with smoked bacon catches your eye, as well as the Austrian pumpkin seed pesto. You think, "I could make something like this." You've got a dynamite recipe for fennel-cayenne beets marinated in champagne vinegar and walnut oil. You picture your face on a label. You see yourself preparing the recipe on "Good Morning America." And soon your company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. You sell it for $750 million. You've made it.

Now, come back to reality. Back to Aisle 5. You don't know how to do any of this. You've never canned anything in your life, and the only thing you've tried to sell was a bathroom sink on Craigslist.

And what about food safety? Have you thought about that? That's where food scientists from Oregon State University come in. They can help keep your million-dollar idea from becoming a million-dollar lawsuit. They advise makers of specialty foods how to make their products safely. (Read more...)

Fresh Frontiers

Recent headlines about contaminated peanut butter and tainted meat have raised concerns about our nation’s food supply. For food safety researchers at Oregon State University, these alerts are a renewed call to action; for some it means working under pressure.

J. Antonio Torres works with extremely high pressure … to kill microbes. The pressures exceed 100,000 pounds per square inch, 6,000 times greater than atmospheric pressure and almost 10 times greater than pressure in the deepest ocean.

“Dairies and all food processors use heat to inactivate microorganisms that are naturally present in foods,” Torres explained. “But heat is the enemy of freshness and nutrition. It breaks down chemical bonds, changing the taste, color, and nutrients in foods.” (Read more...)