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RIVER FALLS

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at UW-River Falls has completed the process of reinstating its food science and technology program that was suspended several years ago. Students will be accepted into the program beginning in fall 2016.

The original decision to suspend the food science and technology program was based around issues of enrollment, staffing and course availability. The college intentionally chose to suspend, rather than close the program, because suspended programs can be reinstated within seven years with appropriate approval from the campus. Once closed, a program would need to go through the full authorization process as would any other new program.

'Our original decision to suspend the food science and technology program was difficult, but necessary, at the time given the factors involved. However, as circumstances both internally and externally have changed, reinstatement is the right decision for us now,' said Dale Gallenberg, dean of CAFES.

The college is engaged in a major renovation of its Dairy Pilot Plant that is being funded primarily through private donations from industry. Many of the supporters of this project indicated their interest in bringing back the program.

The Department of Agricultural Engineering Technology in the college recently hired a faculty member with expertise in food process engineering. She will be working closely with the Food Science and Technology program as that department looks to build its curriculum in the food processing and technology area.

Even though the food science and technology major was suspended, a minor in food processing technology was retained allowing students to focus on food if they were majoring in meat animal science or dairy science. It is likely that some students currently in those programs will choose to transition into the food science and technology major next fall.

'Reinstatement of the major within our department represents opportunity,' Justin Luther, interim chair of the Animal and Food Science Department, said. 'Our students will develop a greater appreciation for the relationship between animal production practices and the development of post-harvest consumer products. An increasingly strong job market exists for graduates with the level of expertise this major has to offer, which is evident by the immense support the food industry has offered in recent months.'

More information on the food science and technology program can be found at www.uwrf.edu/ANFS/FoodScienceTech.cfm. Questions about the program should be emailed to justin.luther-1@uwrf.edu.

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