Canadian Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT)
Director: A. T. Paulson, PhD
Phone: (902) 494-3280
Fax: (902) 420-0219

CIFT was established in 1979 at the former Nova Scotia Technical College (later TUNS). The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans provided much of its early specialized laboratory and seafood pilot scale processing equipment, and Industry Canada provided start-up funding and designated CIFT a centre of excellence. As a government-approved laboratory for advanced technology, it also provides R&D services on a cost-recovery basis to industry and to various governmental agencies. The Institute promotes technology transfer and the development of advanced technologies aimed at more effective commercial utilization of both marine and terrestrial resources in Canada and throughout the world.

In addition, CIFT offers unique opportunities for post-graduate training and research through the Food Science program. Major areas of emphasis are: food biochemistry and microbiology; fats, oils, nutraceuticals and other bioactives; physical properties of foods; fish/food process engineering; food safety and preservation; food rheology, food fermentation and beverage science.


CIFT is located in the MacDonald Building of Sexton Campus at 1360 Barrington Street in downtown Halifax. The Institute’s facilities include:

  • fats and oils laboratory
  • food chemistry laboratory
  • food development laboratory
  • sensory evaluation laboratory
  • food process engineering pilot plant
  • low temperature storage facility
  • food physical properties laboratory
  • food microbiology laboratory

These areas contain specialized instrumentation and food processing equipment to enable experimental processing, laboratory analysis, and product storage evaluation. In addition to a computer- controlled cold-storage facility, the pilot plant is equipped for experimental processing including freezing, chilling, thermal processing, drying, centrifugal separation, and meat-bone separation.

The pilot plant is well equipped for thermal processing with an automated retort capable of steam, steam-air, or water immersion processing research. The specially designed cold-storage facility is computer controlled and particularly useful for the study of changes in foods as a result of frozen storage history. The pilot plant is also equipped with a custom-built computer-controlled heat pump dryer that is used in food dehydration experiments.

Specialized laboratory equipment includes: automated high performance and fast protein liquid chromatography systems, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy system, preparative ultracentrifuge, multi-purpose refrigerated centrifuge, microtube centrifuge, analytical and preparative electrophoretic/isoelectric focusing equipment, pulsed field electrophoresis system, thermocycler, DNA gel electrophoresis, Hoefer Daltsix for 2D eletrophoresis, Image Master 2D elite software, capillary electrophoresis system, ultra-low temperature freezer, universal texture testing machine, various colorimeters, U.V. and visible spectrophotometer, spectrofluorometer, electrokinetic analyzer, workstation for mathematical modelling and computer simulation, Linkham shearing stage/microscope, Nikon microscope (various attachments), controlled stress rheometer with a high temperature/pressure attachment, controlled rate rheometer, Viscomat, and a rolling ball viscometer.

Educational Opportunities

Graduate (MSc and PhD) programs are available through the Food Science and Technology program. Also post-doctoral research opportunities are offered. Graduate level class work and research opportunities relate to food science, seafood processing technology, marine oils, engineering design, packaging technology, fish post-mortem biochemistry, food microbiology, food rheology and food process science. Students with degrees in food science, engineering, chemistry/biochemistry, microbiology or biology are invited to apply.