Main menu:

Site search


December 2014
« Jan    


Congratulations to the Class of 2014 Master Meat Crafter Graduates!

On the evening of January 17th, twenty-one Master Meat Crafter candidates successfully met the requirements necessary to receive the distinction of Master Meat Crafter.  The graduation ceremony highlighted Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Ben Brancel, and the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Dr. Kate VandenBosch, as keynote speakers, and focused on the unparallelled accomplishments of each of the candidates.  The graduates should be very proud of their efforts over the past two years of courses, congratulations!

The 2014 Class of Master Meat Crafter Graduates.

The 2014 Class of Master Meat Crafter Graduates.

For a video compilation of the graduation events, please visit:

Sopressata, Salami and Dry-Cured Bacon…Oh My!


Fermented and dry cured 2013

On August 27th and 28th, 2013 twenty three Master Meat Crafter Candidates arrived on the UW Campus for the final short-course of the Master Meat Crafter Training Program, the Fermented and Dry Cured Meat Products School.  This intensive two-day course kicked off with presentations on topics including: basic meat science for fermented and dry cured meat products, manufacturing principles, the microbiology of dry sausages, water activity, shelf stable products and acidification techniques for dry and semi-dry sausages. After a presentation-packed morning, the candidates had a chance to apply their newly-gained knowledge during a product manufacturing demonstration.  Together, the group made a variety of fermented and acidulated snack sausages, pepperoni, sopressata and genoa salami products.  The first day of the course concluded with a very engaging lecture on the importance of marketing and the utilization of balance sheets in the meat industry.

The second day began with the evaluation of the fermented products made the previous day.  After sensory evaluation and discussion, the group headed back to the classroom to explore the worlds of starter cultures, thermal processing, dry-cured meat products and the casings used in processing dry and semi-dry sausages.  After a manufacturing demo, where dry-cured bacons and hams, and a few different lomo and coppa products were made, the group listened to presentations on the regulatory and food safety aspects of making dry-cured products and dry and fermented sausages.

Similar to the previous short-courses, this course contained a variety of learning opportunities ranging from hands-on demonstrations and product evaluations to very informative presentations from instructors with innumerable years of industry experience and expertise.  With the completion of this final short-course, the MMC Candidates can look forward to Graduation on January 17th, 2014, where their Plant Projects and Mentorship Programs will be presented.

Prior to product tasting, Dr. Sindelar discusses some of the distinguishing flavor  characteristics in different varieties of fermented and dry-cured products.

Prior to product tasting, Dr. Sindelar discusses some of the distinguishing flavor characteristics in different varieties of fermented and dry-cured products.

2013 Meat Curing School

On January 15, Master Meat Crafter candidates entered the UW Meat Lab classroom to begin the Meat Curing School; class number four of the six required MMC courses. The day began with The Science of Meat Curing following with Bacon Manufacturing Principles and demonstrations and Ham Processing Principles and demonstrations. Meat Curing School 2013-11After lunch, Injection, Tumbling and other Bacon/Ham Processing Equipment was discussed while demonstrating brine making and injecting. That afternoon presentations continued with Nitrite: A Human Health Risk or Benefit and demonstrations in Ham Manufacturing of Stuffing and Clipping. Read more »

2012 Basic HACCP Training Program

While conversing with any meat processor, food vendor or restaurant owner/operator, simply mention the acronym ‘HACCP’. Instantaneously, you may observe adverse emotions of frustration and agitation; however, this is no longer the case for the 63 citified participants of the 2012 Basic HACCP Training program held at the University of

WI DATCP Bureau of Meat Safety and Inspection specialists (Left) Dr. Don Baker Director of Vet Services, Rob Rothke Food Scientist, (Center) Arthur Ness Director of Technical and Regulatory Services, (Right) Cindy Klug Bureau Director, Paul Pierce Director of Field Services and Compliance, answer questions dunnring Experiences and Lessons Learned with HACCP.

Wisconsin-Madison Animal Sciences Building. For two days these industry leaders, business owners, and employees received a practical, hands on education founded on current USDA and FSIS HACCP regulations.

Combined controbutions provided by UW Meat Science, Extension Meat Specialist Dr. Jeff Sindelar, Professor Emeritus of Food Science from   UW River Falls, Dr. Purnendu C. Vasavada and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, made presentations and demonstrations both interesting and straight forward.

Read more »

Sausage making and other spectator sports

Turns out Otto Von Bismarck was only half right. He’s the one who said “Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made.” It may be painful to observe the legislative process at both the state and national level these days, but judging by the crowds in front of Jeff Sindelar’s table at the State Fair, sausage-making is fun to watch. The CALS sausagemeister made five batches of brats during the course on Wednesday August 8th, at UW-Madison Day at the State Fair, and if you came late you had to stand on tiptoes to get a look. Part of the appeal was the opportunity to taste the end product and pick up Sindelar’s “Wisconsin Special” brat recipe, which include cheese, dried cranberries, maple syrup and other Badger State ingredients.

Sindelar’s was just one of a number of crowd-pleasing demonstrations from CALS and UW-Extension at the fair. Visitors also enjoyed watching Babcock Hall’s Gary Grossen making cheese, trying out a putting green provided by the crew from the O.J. Noer turfgrass center, and many other activities focused on wildlife, insects, soils, horticulture, plant diseases and more. Article provided by eCALS

Wisconsin National Guard visits the Meat Laboratory

On Tuesday July 24th, 60 Wisconsin National Guards men and women reported to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat and Muscle Biology Laboratory for a half day course in Meat Science. This session was part of a one week training program, “Ag 101″, for the 97th WING agricultural development team. Soldiers gained knowledge in soils, cattle, sheep, goat, fish and poultry production, water and pasture management, root cellaring and alternative rural power resources.

Ph.D Student and Graduate Research Assistant Amanda King demonstrates the fabrication of restructured beef jerky

Extension Meat Specialist, Dr. Jeff Sindelar, began the day with an overview of Meat and Poultry Inspection. WI DATCP veterinarian, Dr. Julie McGwin, UW Senior Lecturer, Ronald Russell, and Meat Plant Manager, Robert Weyker, led Beef and Lamb Animal Harvest Demonstrations. The day continued with presentations         covering Common Meat Animal Diseases and Meat and Poultry Preservation Methods. Soldiers got firsthand experience learning about Manufacturing Activity of Shelf-Stable Meat products by making whole muscle and restructured beef jerky.

2012 Food Safety and Meat Microbiology School

On July 17th, 13 participants and 23 Master Meat Crafter candidates arrived at the University of Wisconsin Madison Food Research Institute for the second biannual Food Safety and Meat Microbiology School.

The smiling faces of participants and speakers at the 2012 Food Safety and Meat Microbiology School outside the University of Wisconsin-Madison Microbial Sciences Building.

This two and a half day program placed strong emphasis on general and advanced microbiology concepts as well as the criticality of food safety through presentations and hands on laboratory exercises. Course topics discussed on day one included The History of Food Safety in the Meat Industry, Overview of Microbiology, and Understanding Microbiology in Meat Processing. Microbiology laboratory exercises demonstrated microbiological laboratory methods, dilution & plating techniques, stomaching, enrichments and plate streaking. At the UW-Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory, concepts of environmental monitoring, pre-operational inspection, ATP testing, principles of sanitary equipment design, product sampling, product manufacture with antimicrobials and developing thermal processing profiles were covered. Tuesday night, Master Meat Crafter candidates enjoyed a steak dinner at the Prime Quarter Steakhouse of Madison while presenting their mentorship program outlines and introducing ideas for their individual plant projects.

Read more »

Seventeen Candidates Receive Distinction as “Master Meat Crafter”

1st Graduating ClassSmiles of achievement, excitement and relief were seen on many faces at the first ever Master Meat Crafter Training program graduation ceremony was held at the DoubleTree hotel in Madison, WI on January 20th, 2012. This day marked the end of a two year rigorous meat processing training program for seventeen individuals as sausage makers and meat industry leaders from across the state, University representatives, and WI state government officials gathered to recognize these deserving individuals as a Master Meat Crafter…

Read more »