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Small business success spotlighted by USDA at conference
Date:10/15/2010

This press release is available in Spanish.

ChoiceBatter's transformation from a federal laboratory bench technology to a grocery shelf product is among topics that will be discussed here today by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials and other participants attending the 17th annual conference of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF).

ChoiceBatter, the brand name for a line of low oil-uptake batters marketed by CrispTek, LLC, of Columbia, Md., is based on a rice-flour formulation created by Fred Shih and Kim Daigle, chemists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

In tests from 1998-2000, fried chicken, fish and veggies coated in the rice flour batter absorbed up to 50 percent less cooking oil than traditional wheat batters. The rice batter also produced a crisp, golden-brown coating. But existing food companies didn't show any interest in the product, and the recipe languished for several years.

However, following the creation in 2007 of a unique program called the Agricultural Technology Innovation Partnership (ATIP) under the auspices of ARS' Office of Technology Transfer (ARS-OTT), CrispTek licensed the patent in April 2008 and was able to commercially develop and begin selling the rice batter.

"We established this program out of recognition that a federal research agency like ours is limited by mission and resources as to what services it can provide to industry partners who can commercialize and market the outcomes of federal research," said Rick Brenner, Assistant Administrator for ARS-OTT in Beltsville, Md.

"ChoiceBatter is an ideal case study," he added, "because it demonstrates the complexity of turning a federal innovation into a commercial product, as well as illustrates the ATIP program's effectiveness in lever
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Contact: Jan Suszkiw
jan.suszkiw@ars.usda.gov
301-504-1630
United States Department of Agriculture -- Research, Education and Economics
Source:Eurekalert

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