The Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center (pilot plant), provides the University of Minnesota with excellent food product research and teaching facilities. The primary goal of the center is to provide a teaching and research infrastructure for the department, and to provide our students with the ability to work and conduct research in an operating production facility. The facility is available to industry to provide process and product development support. Additionally, it can provide a vital resource for food companies that are just starting-up, or are evaluating new process and product lines. The use of the facility by industry partners provides opportunities for our students, as well as much needed revenue for maintenance and acquisition of equipment. The facility is inspected by the State of Minnesota and is certified as a food production facility. The milk pasteurization equipment is inspected and sealed to provide legally pasteurized milk, so products produced at this facility can be sold or used in market research.
The Center includes specialized equipment in the areas of dairy and cheese processing, twin-screw extrusion, aseptic/ESL processing, and various concentration operations (membrane processing, spray and fluidized-bed drying, centrifugation). The faculty and staff who operate the Center are available for consultation and assistance in development of novel processes and products, or simply for evaluation and analysis of samples or prototypes.
By being housed in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, other services and collaboration opportunities can be accessed that include biological and biochemical testing, flavor research, sensory evaluation and taste panel services, and microbiological testing.