Chobani, Cornell Team on Food Science, Dairy Innovation

Chobani Inc., maker of the top-selling Greek yogurt brand in the United States, and Cornell University have formed a partnership to promote innovation in dairy and food science. The partnership was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from Chobani to the university.

Additionally, Chobani has named Dr. Alejandro Mazzotta VP of global quality, food safety, and regulatory affairs. Mazzotta brings to his new role more than two decades of experienced in microbiology, food science and compliance at global packaged goods companies, as well as an impressive track record of industry research.

“Cornell’s Department of Food Science is one of the leading programs of its kind globally -- a match to Chobani’s leading role in Greek yogurt and our mission to bring better food options to everyone,” noted David Denholm, president and COO at New Berlin, N.Y.-based Chobani, which recently recalled products after reports of foodborne illness. “Alejandro’s exceptional expertise only furthers our purpose and ensures consistent quality with every cup.”

“This partnership will strengthen the science behind New York's dairy industry and help us better accomplish our land-grant mission to bring new information, technologies and a well-prepared workforce to this expansive industry,” added Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). “Our goal is not only high-quality dairy products, but also economic growth in communities that need it the most.”

New York production now accounts for 70 percent of all Greek yogurt sales, and the state surpasses California as the United States’ No. 1 yogurt producer.

Chobani’s endowment will establish a research and training program to support graduate student research as well as workforce development in dairy quality. The gift is part of the “Cornell Now” campaign, which aims to engender private support for the Ithaca, N.Y., campus and Weill Cornell Medical College ahead of the university’s sesquicentennial in 2015. So far, the campaign has reached more than 85 percent of its $4.75 billion goal for fundraising.

With more than 3,000 students, CALS is the second-largest undergraduate college at Cornell University and the third-largest college of its kind in the United States. The college’s land-grant mission encompasses research, education and extension programs.

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