The Meat Science Laboratory is an unusual facility to be found in a university setting. It is a small-scale meat packing plant operating under federal meat inspection regulations with the capability to slaughter, cut and process all the major red meat species. The purpose of the laboratory is to provide the means for teaching and research in all aspects of meat science. The Meat Science Laboratory also provides a service facility for the various departments of the University needing to harvest tissue or organ samples from meat animals for their research programs.
Students can observe slaughter operations from a raised platform located along one wall of the abattoir. After chilling, carcasses are moved to a holding cooler where they remain for further processing or shipping.
The cutting room is well equipped to process carcasses into wholesale or retail cuts or to carry out complete carcass dissections. In addition, this area has the basic equipment for the manufacture of processed meat products and includes a smokehouse.
A blast freezer operating at -30 °C and an adjacent storage freezer kept at -20 °C are available for long-term storage of meat products. A well-equipped kitchen is located next to the cutting room, and meat products can be cooked prior to evaluation by taste panel or by equipment such as the texture profile analyzer.
Teaching areas, in addition to the abattoir, include:
- a carcass dissection classroom where students can observe or participate in the fabrication of meat cuts
- a glass-fronted display cooler where carcasses or meat cuts relevant to current classes can be displayed
- a 99-seat lecture theatre in which, in addition to formal lectures, carcass and meat cutting demonstrations can be given since it is linked to the monorail system which extends throughout the rest of the Meat Science Laboratory.
In addition to its research and teaching functions, the Meat Science Laboratory engages in service operations for outside agencies requiring its specialized facilities and expertise. Such work is done on a fee-for-service basis. Specialized meat product workshops are frequently held at this location, often in cooperation with industry personnel.
The Department has been pleased to assist the local Mennonite community in preparing meat in the Meat Science Laboratory for canning in a mobile canning facility (40,000 lb in April 2012); the canned meat is distributed to needy people throughout the world.
Brian McDougall, Manager