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June 26, 2017

Words from the Director

     I am again pleased to share with you a few highlights in our spring newsletter.  In this letter you will read about a variety of topics including the new meat lab construction project, the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame, WAMP annual convention, numerous extension activities, and special recognition for a number of our students and staff.   


Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame

May 4, 2017 Induction Ceremony

Three individuals with outstanding lifetime contributions to the meat business were inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame on May 4, 2017 -  Phil Hinderaker of Alkar-RapidPak, Philip Jones of Jones Dairy Farm, and Don MacFarlane of MacFarlane Pheasants Incorporated.

The Hall of Fame program, which was created in 1993, is coordinated by and housed in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory.

New Meat Science Building Update

Submitted by Dr. Jeff Sindelar
Since the last Meat Science building update in March, many exciting things have happened and are continuing to happen on and off the construction site!  With the exception of a few rainy days, the JP Cullen team has been hard at work. As we move into summer, the building is really starting to show life.  Here are a few updates about the project:
  • Construction meetings continue to take place every 2 weeks for discussing construction progress and related topics. Generally, 10-15 people representing the Division of Facilities Development at the Wisconsin Department of Administration, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Potter Lawson, JP Cullen, and numerous subcontractors representing various disciplines are in attendance.
  • A host of meetings, coordination, and planning to support the construction and allow for a vertical start up upon building completion (late 2018) are ramping up.  For example, plans to apply for the USDA grant of inspection (for the USDA inspected meat processing facility) will begin this Fall.
  • Focus on programmatic support is occurring as we will clearly need more faculty and staff to operate the new building and continue to grow the University of Wisconsin Meat Science program.
  • The fundraising goal has still not been achieved. Five million is needed to compete our fundraising campaign. 
  • In addition to “bricks & mortar” fundraising, we are now transitioning into programmatic support.  By building opening, it has been determined 3-5 full-time staff will need to join the Meat Science group for facility operations.  An additional 2 faculty positions have also been identified as a core need for building research/teaching/outreach programs to meet programmatic vision.
  • The website,, is being updated weekly to highlight the construction progress.  Simply go to to see the new construction photos. 
  • The project is on schedule and the anticipated opening is January 2019!

2017 Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors’ Convention 


The Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors held their annual convention at the Madison Marriot West in Middleton, WI from March 31-April 2, 2017. This convention serves as an opportunity for Wisconsin meat processors to network with one another, interact with meat processing equipment & material suppliers, attend educational sessions discussing an array of meat-related topics, and enter their own products into the statewide meat product competition.

       The WAMP meat product competition is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. 47 food scientists and meat industry professionals attended the convention to judge and evaluate the products entered in the competition. At this year’s contest, over 1000 products where entered to compete in 36 different product categories including ham, bacon, bratwurst, specialty cured meats, and snack sausages to name a few. View results of the Wisconsin Meat Product competition here.

       Another great feature of the 2017 WAMP convention was the pre-convention workshop held at the UW-Madison meat lab. This workshop featured Gunther Kühle, a German Fleischmaster from Weißenhorn, Germany. Kühle is the owner/operator of his family’s sixth generation butcher shop, der Platzmetzgerei Kühle. At the pre-convention workshop, Kühle led manufacturing demonstrations showcasing a variety of liverwursts, bloodwurst, and several European specialty bratwursts. Participants were able to sample the fresh European specialty bratwursts including traditional German bratwurst, veal bratwurst, French merguez sausage, and Italian Salsicce sausage. During Kühle's special guest presentation at the convention, the audience was able to sample his authentic liverwurst and bloodwurst.
4-H Meats Judging Contest
      The state 4-H Meats judging contest consists of evaluating and ranking classes of hams, beef, pork and lamb carcasses, and 2 retail cut classes. Contestants also identified 30 retail cuts of beef, pork or lamb and 10 cuts of processed meats products, quality and yield graded 5 beef carcasses and completed a 10 question meat label reading exercise. Seniors had to give 1 set of oral reasons on a carcass class.
      This contest tests the knowledge of youth in placement of carcass and retail cut classes, carcass grading, retail cut identification and a quiz. This contest occurs annually with the teams traveling to Kansas City, MO and Denver, CO for national competition. 
FFA Meats Judging Contest
      High school students throughout the state of Wisconsin joined together at UW-Madison to participate in the Wisconsin FFA meats contest. This career development event is  a contest, based on current industry standards, where FFA members can demonstrate their knowledge and skills gained from classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences, and other FFA activities.
      Nearly 100 students from 25 different high schools participated in the 2017 event. Students were required to evaluate and rank a several classes of carcasses and retail cuts. Along with two written exams, they also had to identify 30 various retail cuts of beef, pork, and lamb.
Contest results can be viewed here.

Dennis R. Buege Meat Science Scholarship

Three undergraduate students from UW-Madison were awarded the Dennis R. Buege Meat Science Scholarship. Recipients attended the 2017 Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors convention banquet to accept their awards.
Kory Anderson
Kory is a food science major and has been active in the Badger Meat Science Club, serving as the club’s secretary. Kory has organized hands-on demonstrations for the public to experience pork carcass fabrication and the process of bacon curing. Associated with UW’s Bucky Butchery, Kory has performed final inspection during harvest and assisted with meat merchandizing. Kory has been preparing to participate in a Quiz bowl at this year’s AMSA Reciprocal Meat Conference in Texas.  Kory is interested in pursuing a career associated with product development. Kory has a very special internship planned with Devro Incorporate for this summer. 
Charlie Connolly
Charlie is a microbiology major interested in processed meat food safety.  He has worked in Bucky Butchery’s since 2015. He has assisted with slaughter, carcass fabrication, and processed meat manufacturing. He has gained experience in applying HACCP principles for meat and poultry production.  Charlie has been active in the Badger meat science club associated supporting UW Extension events (IFFA/AAMP Quality Sausage and Ham competition; State Fair). He also has been involved with activities associated with the Master Meat Crafters course.  To gain additional exposure to the field of meat science, Charlie attended the AMSA Reciprocal Meat Conference and participated on the RMC Quiz Bowl and Iron Chef Competitions.
Vanessa Soendjaja
Vanessa is a food science major. Vanessa became interested in studying meat science because in her home country of Indonesia, there is limited expertise in this field and they have a high rate of malnutrition there.  In the fall of 2016, Vanessa worked with Dr. Claus on a meat quality and processed meat project associated with prerigor sow meat.  This spring, Vanessa submitted a research proposal to the Cargill-Benevenga UG Scholarship program which was funded to determine the impact of a new technology that rinses and chills carcasses through the vascular system on bison tenderness.  

Meat Science Extension Offers Spring Short Courses

Wisconsin Meat Processing School

     On March 21 and 22, UW Meat Science Extension welcomed thirty-two participants to the meat lab for the 2017 Wisconsin Meat Processing School. This short course is open to any meat processor interested in learning more about basic meat science. Attendees learned about a variety of meat science fundamentals including fresh meats, processed meats, meat microbiology, cooking & smoking, non-meat ingredients, meat plant sanitation, and many more.
     With sausage and cured meat manufacturing demonstrations during the day and an authentic German wurst dinner in the evening, the annual Wisconsin Meat Processing School is one Meat Science Extension’s favorite short courses to host at UW-Madison.
Cooked & Emulsified Sausage School
     The Master Meat Crafter class of 2018 just completed their 5th short course of the MMC training program May 23-25, 2017.This 2.5 day short course consisted of academic experts and industry professionals covering all sorts of topics related to cooked and/or emulsified sausage products.  Participants were able to observe several different processing techniques, and they got a firsthand look at various functional ingredients used in cooked sausage manufacture.
     These exclusive Master Meat Crafter short courses serve as an opportunity to bring the MMC group together to network with one another and share progress on their in-plant research projects.  

Sindelar Receives WAMP Meritorious Service Award

      The recipient of the 2017 WAMP Meritorious Service Award is Dr. Jeff Sindelar, Associate Professor and Extension Meat Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sindelar provides assistance to many state and federally inspected establishments throughout Wisconsin, the U.S., and internationally.
      The meat extension program that Sindelar maintains and has developed over the past 10 the years is truly an asset for Wisconsin meat processors. During his time in Wisconsin, he has organized and taught at many short courses including the Wisconsin Meat Processing School, Basic HACCP for Meat and Poultry Establishments, and Beginning a Career in Meat Processing. The pinnacle of his achievement thus far is the development of the Master Meat Crafter Training Program. This one-of-a-kind program has attracted students not only from Wisconsin and across the U.S.; but Canada and Jamaica as well.
      From the vast number of educational programs he has developed, to the research he has conducted and articles published, as well as the continued assistance to the meat industry, Sindelar has made a positive impact on the success of the UW-Madison Animal Sciences department as well as WAMP.

Chris Sawyer Awarded Master's Degree

      Chris Sawyer successfully defended his M.S. research on April 24th.  Chris worked with Dr. Claus on the topic of the: Microbiological Conditions and Color of Carbon Monoxide Modified Atmosphere Packaged Ground Beef Under Compromised Package and Abusive Temperature Conditions.  Chris started his graduate program in 2006 and completed his academic course work and the physical part of the research while working full time at Kraft-Oscar Mayer.  Chris received several promotions while at Oscar Mayer.  He first started out as an auditor in the Madison facility (2001). In 2008 Chris moved into R&D  for 4 years (Lunchables/Bacon).  He then took a position (2012) as the quality manager of the Coshoton bacon plant.  Chris returned to Madison (2014) in a higher level R&D position.  With the closing of the Madison plant Chris took this opportunity to write his thesis.  During this time he was successful in developing a career path plan with Brakebush Brothers to become their continuous improvement manager. They allowed Chris to start out part time so that he could complete his M.S. degree.
Copyright © 2017 University of Wisconsin Meat Science Lab, All rights reserved.

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