CSU facility pairs science and industry
Gary and Kay Smith are the namesakes of the new meats lab facility on the campus of Colorado State University. Smith was a faculty member in the animal science department for 20 years and was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Mrs. Smith was a supporter of the university and was involved heavily with students.
The JBS Global Food Innovation Center, built through a partnership between JBS USA and CSU and built in the Smiths’ honor, is a $20 million facility to advance best practices in food safety, meat sciences, and animal handling and welfare.
“From a meat science standpoint, he is considered the scientist,” said Bob Delmore, CSU professor of meat science. “There are a lot of us who have trained under Dr. Smith, so it was a fitting recognition. There is a large bronze with a picture of him and his wife in one of the new courtyards.”
Delmore said the culinary facility is significantly larger with more cooking equipment that will allow students to prepare and produce products in a variety of ways for both research or catering situations.
Additionally, the new facility boasts a production facility for cooked items like ham, bacon, sausage and the like. A separate, sanitary packaging room that mirrors industry facilities for the ready-to-eat items is likely the only of its kind among universities, he said.
Delmore said the cattle handling facilities were designed under the supervision of Dr. Temple Grandin, using one of her standard designs. The facilities follow the same principles students are likely to see in the industry in feed yards and processing facilities and have best practices at work in animal flow, gate position, and flooring to meet Grandin’s expectations and teach students and visitors what ideal facilities can be. Animal handling facilities are enclosed, allowing animals and handlers to escape the elements as well as allowing groups of students to evaluate animals indoors.
As a meat science professor, Delmore teaches an introductory course that, with the addition of this facility, can have a laboratory element implemented to enhance instruction. Delmore’s meat processing course will also utilize the facility, which he calls second to none, in the preparation of meat products. His food safety course has been utilizing the facility in designing food safety plans for the facility.
“The other day, the students were able to go into the plant and see what the process flow is going to look like in the facility and incorporate that into their food safety plan,” he said.
This dedication to exposure to industry carries over from animal handling to retail, with the Where Food Comes From Market on site, carrying Ram Country Meats, produced by students.
Graduates from CSU’s meat science program are able to have experience in quality assurance in a processing facility, food safety, product development, research, operations in plants of all sizes, careers with companies in allied industries.
“Right now is a good time,” he said. “There are jobs all across the country for these students who have a familiarity with this. It’s a good time.”
Students in the meat science program are 70 to 80 percent female, many of whom come to CSU initially with hopes of becoming a veterinarian but may find an opportunity in one of the fields related to animal or meat science.
Delmore, a meat scientist by training, also serves as the director of undergraduate programs. Prior to coming to CSU six years ago, he was a faculty member at Calpoly, San Luis Obispo after working in the meat processing industry. ❖
— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 392-4410.