American Packaging in Story City landed a $750,000 contract and a new line of business because CIRAS helped the company prove that it could reliably produce plastic bags that a potential customer needed for frozen french fries.
Kevin Keener sees enormous potential in the innovative projects taking root at Iowa State University’s Center for Crops Utilization Research (CCUR).
Keener, now entering his second year as CCUR’s director, describes researchers seeking to use fermentation and chemical changes to crop by-products to create plastics or adhesives. Scientists also are studying how to create oil-based materials out of natural components. And roughly 100 companies annually, most focused on food and feed production and food safety, are working on projects in CCUR’s on-campus pilot-scale processing spaces or at the CCUR-managed BioCentury Research Farm outside Ames.
The Iowa companies manufacturing human and animal food are mostly small firms with well-established histories. Despite that history, some appear to be ripe for large-scale change.
CIRAS specialists know a lot about Iowa businesses. Here are a few questions and answers to help you learn a little more about them:
A 72-year-old Des Moines company with a long history of making products that boost the flavor and appearance of meat is now pursuing new opportunities after CIRAS helped the firm obtain a Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification.
David Dickson, president of Dickson Industries, said his company obtained its certification last March after a CIRAS gap assessment helped Dickson understand the quality requirements and prepare for the review.
Ron Petersen thought he had it right, but he wasn’t sure.
Petersen, owner of Summertime Potato Company in Des Moines, sought CIRAS’ help last year to make certain that his company was in compliance with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a sweeping 2011 law that gave the FDA new powers to prevent foodborne illness.
Think of it as an impending explosion in the dark: It’s coming at some point. It may be a time bomb or a firecracker. You don’t know how big, or how close to you, the eventual bang will be.
You probably ought to find out.
Experts say that’s roughly the current situation in Iowa’s food companies, many of whom can expect within months to feel the first full weight of important new federal safety regulations. A 2011 law called the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gave the FDA new powers to prevent outbreaks of foodborne disease. But the impact of new rules was largely delayed as authorities constructed complex standards and procedures.
Two Iowa State University professors have been named 2016 inductees to the national Meat Industry Hall of Fame.
Joseph Cordray and Joseph Sebranek, professors in the Department of Animal Science, are slated to be honored along with five other industry leaders at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta on January 31, 2017.
Angela Shaw stood smiling in a room full of food industry safety experts last month and compared the process they were practicing to visiting a family clinic.
“Just like when you go to the doctor,” said Shaw, an assistant professor of food safety in Iowa State University’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “They ask you a series of questions, and at the end they go, ‘I think I know what’s wrong with you.’ ”
In this case, the questions pertained not (directly) to human health but to the safety of food manufacturing machines.
Iowa State University’s Polymer and Food Protection Consortium has added a plastic manufacturing expert to help Iowa companies deal with their growing focus on the safety and effectiveness of food packaging.
Life began moving faster after Betty Garcia got the phone call.
It was the fall of 2017, and a Des Moines-area produce company was planning to launch a line of ready-to-eat meals. The company was wondering whether Tortilleria Sonora would be interested in supplying tortillas. First, there were a few questions about the business. Would Garcia mind filling out a questionnaire?
About 18 months ago, CIRAS announced its new “Future of Manufacturing” series to help manufacturers become ready for what is “next” in manufacturing. While this was a significant leap, it was based on a simple premise: changes in technology, workforce, and business models were moving so fast that we needed to help get Iowa manufacturers out in front.
For Bill Zimmerle, plant manager of the Valent BioSciences Corporation (VBC) facility in Osage, it all comes down to planning for the future.
The future, you see, requires water.