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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

History and Accomplishments
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Photo of 4 Directors

ERRC's Directors:
Percy A. Wells (1939-1969)
Ivan A. Wolff (1969-1980)
Herbert L. Rothbart (1980-1984)
John P. Cherry (1984-2007)

The ERRC is home to the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers in agriculture solving problems facing the U.S. today and for tomorrow with fundamental, applied and developmental research studies on agricultural commodities including milk, meat, poultry, hides, leather, wool, fats, oils, rendered protein, grains, fruits, vegetables and juices. New knowledge and technology that will ensure an abundance of high quality agricultural commodities and products at reasonable prices to meet the increasing needs and to provide a continued improvement in the standard of living of all Americans are obtained through the following research objectives:

  • improve and reduce pre- and postharvest losses

  • develop new and improved food and nonfood or industrial products and energy efficient processing technologies

  • upgrade nutritional value of foods

  • ensure microbial and chemical food safety via molecular biology studies, rapid detection-sensing methods, intervention technologies and risk assessment

  • decrease costs for production of fuel-grade alcohol and biodiesel from agricultural feedstocks

  • ensure the security of the food supply

  • utilize by-products, particularly potential pollutants

  • open new and expand existing domestic and foreign markets

  • reduce marketing costs and transfer technology 

ERRC has six Research Units that conduct research work to benefit the producers of agricultural commodities, handlers and processors of food and nonfood products, federal action and regulatory agencies and the consumer. They are Dairy Processing and Products; Crop Conversion Science and Engineering; Food Safety Intervention Technologies; Fats, Oils and Animal -Coproducts; Microbial Food Safety; and Microbial Biophysics and Residue Chemistry and Core Technologies. Two Work Sites, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Delaware State University with microbial food safety programs report to ERRC.

Selected High Impact Accomplishments

  • Instant Potato Flake Process (Instant Potatoes)

  • Lactose Reduction (Lact-Aid, Lactose-Reduced, Dairy Products)

  • Epoxidized Ester Plasticizers (Fats, Oils, Feedstocks)

  • Glutaraldehyde Tanning Agent (Launderable Leather)

  • Safer Curing Meats (Nitrosamines Reduction/Prevention)

  • Salmonella-Free Poultry Meat (Food Irradiation Technologies)

  • Escherichia-Free Ground Beef (Food Irradiation Technologies)

  • Computer Model/Simulated Process (Microbial Risk Assessment)

  • Lowfat-Reduced Salt Mozzarella Cheese (School Lunch Pizza)

  • Amaizing Oil (Corn Fiber Phytosterols for Nutraceuticals)

  • Listeria DNA Sequences (Genomics)

  • Enzymatic Corn Wet Milling (Environmentally-Safe Corn Processing)

  • Process Simulation (Cost Engineering) for Biofuels Processes

  • Healthy Dairy Whey-Based Products (Extruded Snacks) 


Last Modified: 3/4/2008