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November 24, 2003
For immediate release

Construction Begins to Food Technology Centre Expansion

Development and Technology

A tender has been awarded for a major expansion of the Prince Edward Island Food Technology Centre. MacLean Construction was the successful bidder and construction is currently underway. Five thousand square feet will be added to the existing building and will include an additional laboratory and two new processing suites.

The expansion will accommodate the new "Atlantic Natural Products Development Initiative." Working with private sector partners, FTC will develop innovative technologies to extract high-value natural products from agricultural and marine bioresources. Natural products are growing rapidly in the global marketplace, and the Food Technology Centre is exploring new technical opportunities in this area and working on improving the quality and yield of the extracts obtained. The bioproducts include natural colours, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals from various raw materials such as lobster shell waste, seaweeds, crops and wild plants.

"The Government of Canada is proud to have committed $4.9 million to this project through the Atlantic Innovation Fund," said Wayne Easter, Solicitor General of Canada, on behalf of Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, and Gerry Byrne, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. "The cutting-edge research and development being performed at the Food Technology Centre, in partnership with private sector researchers, is directly benefiting the growth of the agri-food and seafood industries in PEI and throughout the Atlantic region."

"The Atlantic Natural Products Development Initiative at FTC is an ambitious undertaking that consists of leading edge research and development in extraction technology," said Development and Technology Minister Mike Currie. "This project will assist the FTC in expanding its service offerings in the development of new products and processes for existing and new businesses in the Province. It will also complement the recently announced NRC - Institute of Nutriscience and Health which will be built in close proximity on the UPEI campus."

FTC has a number of private sector partners involved in the project in both the development of the extraction technologies as well as the application of the technologies to the various commodities of the land and sea.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will provide $4.9 million for the project through the Atlantic Innovation Fund. The province of Prince Edward Island will provide $1.5 million to assist in the expansion. A further $1.3 million will come from private sector partners.

As well as this new activity in natural product extraction, the Food Technology Centre will continue to provide technical support to the food processing industry including product development, food safety analysis in the accredited laboratories and industry training on food safety, quality and sanitation.

The expansion is expected to be completed by March.

Media Contact: Ann Thurlow
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