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Gift from Agway Inc. becomes Nutritional and Environmental Analytical Services

With a gift of laboratory equipment from Agway Inc. to Cornell and the transfer of technical personnel, the former Agway Technical Center in Ithaca has become the Nutritional and Environmental Analytical Services (NEAS) unit in the College of Veterinary Medicine's Diagnostic Laboratory.

NEAS customers will be farmers and manufacturers of processed foods and animal feeds. NEAS will test human food products and animal feeds for nutritional content and quality.

"The mission of NEAS is to provide service, research and teaching with an emphasis on a full range of chemical testing for the food and feed industries," said Donald H. Lein, director of the Veterinary Medicine Diagnostic Laboratory. "This acquisition allows the diagnostic laboratory to take a multidisciplinary approach to analyzing and resolving nutritional and environmental problems," he said, pointing to the laboratory's current capabilities in the areas of analytical chemistry, toxicology, equine drug testing and microbiology.

Customers may access NEAS by phone (607) 257-2345; fax (607) 257-5041; or Internet http://www.vet.cornell.edu/Public/DL/.

Among the planned services of NEAS are these:

  • Complete nutritional analysis of animal feed and human food products, including protein levels and caloric and mineral content.
  • Screening for food pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, salmonella and listeria.
  • Analysis of environmental sites for cryptosporidium and giardia.

NEAS will continue to operate from the former Agway site on Warren Road. Buildings there are owned by Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD) on land owned by Cornell University. Seven Agway employees will become employees of Cornell, and the director of the Agway technical center, Joseph Hillebrandt, will become the director of operations for NEAS.

"The inclusion of Nutritional and Environmental Analytical Services in the diagnostic laboratory's overall mission will create teaching and research opportunities for graduate, undergraduate and resident-training programs in veterinary, biological and nutritional sciences for analytical toxicology, nutrition and food microbiology research," Lein said.

The expanded capabilities will allow the diagnostic laboratory to give better service both to its veterinary clientele throughout New York state and the region as well as to the college's resident ambulatory staff and clinicians, Lein said. "Up to this point the diagnostic lab has furnished comprehensive service in the areas of infectious disease, toxicology and management-related diseases, but we lacked capabilities in nutritional diseases," he said. "The addition of NEAS will make the diagnostic laboratory a one-stop, full-service center for diagnostic, nutritional and environmental concerns."